COPD: A Quit-Smoking Plan
You’ve probably heard that one of the best ways to manage COPD is to stop smoking. It’s no secret that it’s a tough habit to break. Many people make two or three attempts before breaking the habit for good.
To make things easier, you need a plan. Taking these steps can help you quit for good:
Choose a quit date and mark it on your calendar.
See your health care provider before that date if you think medication might help. One option is nicotine-replacement therapy (such as nicotine gum, lozenges, nasal spray, an inhaler, or patches). The drugs bupropion and varenicline help people resist the urge to smoke. Not all types of insurance may cover these medications, so check with your health plan.
Tell your friends and family about your plan. Ask for their support and that they don’t smoke around you or leave cigarettes lying around.
Think through how you’ll cope with triggers. Many people light up at certain times of the day, such as when they’re reading the newspaper or drinking coffee or alcohol. To counteract that strong connection, you may need to change your routine. For example, skip the newspaper and take a walk in the morning. Drink water instead of alcohol. Relax with a hot bath.
Take advantage of resources in your community. The local office of the American Lung Association is a good place to start. Smoking-cessation programs may be offered by your health plan, local hospitals, or the health department.
The more help you get, the better your chances. And within days of quitting, your health and breathing will improve. So put a plan in place, line up support from family and friends, and commit to quit—you’ll feel better and live longer.