SMOKING … THAT INSIDIOUS HABIT!

Smoking … that insidious habit!

Do you want but you don’t feel ready to stop straight away, or have you already decided it?
No matter which category you belong to, read below how you will achieve your goal…

“It’s easy to quit smoking … I did it thousands of times …”
Mark Twain.

Everyday, in every way, Pulmonologists warn about the health problems caused by smoking and present indisputable figures and statistics about the great risk faced by the smoker, such as the occurrence, sooner or later, of a serious disease directly related to smoking. Such diseases are Lung Cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Myocardial Infarction, and many others.
Also, doctors point out to smokers that it is not just the tar and the nicotine that are mentioned on the cigarette packs, but also about 4,000 different substances that differentiate cigarettes between “light” and “heavy”, which is misleading.

Some of the poisons contained in cigarette smoke

Acetone (Nail Polish Remover), Acetic Acid (Vinegar), Ammonia (Cleaning Liquids), Arsenic (Poison, Herbicidal ingredient), Benzene (Oil Vapours), Cadmium (Batteries), Carbon Monoxide (Exhaust emissions), Carbon tetrachloride (Dry cleaning fluid), DDT (Insecticide), Hydrogen cyanide (Used in US Gas Chamber for Execution), Lead (Oil Vapours), Methyl Isocyanate (Responsible for the Bhopal Ecological Disaster in India), Nicotine (Insecticide), Polonium- 210 (Radioactive residue), Pitch (Road Surface Coating), Radon (Radioactive gas), Toluene (Industrial solvent).

Methods to Quit Smoking

Smoking cessation treatment can be done with or without medication, both ways coexisting and complementing each other, thus increasing the overall smoking cessation rates but also those of non-relapse.

Non-drug treatment

  • Guidance from the doctor, who communicates the right messages to the smoker regarding the benefits of quitting smoking.
  • Provision of informational material and incentives to overcome the obstacles they may encounter while trying to quit smoking.
  • Behavioral therapy during which, with the help of cognitive techniques, the perceptions about smoking and its cessation are thoroughly examined, with the aim of modifying and replacing them with realistic beliefs.

Treatment with medication

  • Nicotine replacement therapy

With this method, we try to reduce the intense craving for smoking, the psychological dependence on smoking, and the symptoms of nicotine witthdrawl with our various nicotine substitutes. Appropriate forms of substitution treatment are:

  • Nicotine stickers
  • Nicotine chewing gum
  • Nicotine nasal spray
  • Nicotine inhaled
  • Nicotine pastilles
  • Nicotine sublingual tablets

 

  • Substitution therapy with medication
  • Bupropion
  • Varenicline

Both of these drugs, bupropion and varenicline, are recognised, well-researched and safe medications which help significantly to increase overall smoking cessation rates.

Smokers are divided into two categories

A) Smokers who want to quit but do not feel ready to do so right away..

In this case, the smoking cessation specialised pulmonologist informs the smoker of the recent smoking cessation methods and tries to detect the reasons why the smoker, despite his desire to quit smoking, postpones it.
It is important for this category of smokers that the doctor communicates the right messages to the smoker regarding the benefits he will have from quitting smoking.

B) Smokers who are determined to quit smoking

In this category, the cessation process is divided into three stages

  • Stage of acquaintance, briefing, establishing a trusting relationship with a qualified pulmonologist and choosing the method of cessation.
  • The main stage of smoking cessation, which is the most important and lasts for about two months. At this stage, medication is also recommended.
  • Relapse prevention stage, where the patient who is taking medication to quit smoking after two to three months stops medication and if he/she has quitted smoking, quarterly visits are arranged to prevent relapses.

In the YODA Day Care Unit and in the Pulmonary Department there is a specialized Smoking Cessation Clinic, where the right method of smoking cessation is selected and it is responsible to manage the whole process.
A prerequisite, of course, is the proper cooperation between the doctor and the candidate who wants to stop smoking. This way, success rates are greatly increased and we contribute to the prevention part, which includes training smokers, recognizing, preventing or responding to high-risk situations for relapse.

Dr. Georgios I. Tasopoulos MD, PhD
Pulmonologist – Intensivist
Scientific Director
Pulmonology Department – Smoking Cessation Clinic