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  • The time to start quitting is now!

    By: Dr. Ralph Strauss, Strauss Allergy & Asthma (Commack & Westbury, NY)

    The time to start quitting is now!

    Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.A.    Half of people who smoke will die from it.

    What if I am not ready to quit yet?

    Smoking is a potentially fatal disease- you can’t wait until you are ready. Smoking is an addiction, not a bad habit or a choice. Quitting is a process and takes time. You can do it.

    Is there any risk to my children if I never smoke in my home or car?

    The toxins and carcinogens from cigarette smoke accumulate in clothing, hair and fingernails. There is no safe level of tobacco exposure and children of smokers are at greater risk for asthma and infections.

    Here are some of my best tips:

    Don’t focus on quitting but on these steps:

    STEP ONE- PUT THE PATCH ON DAILY!

    Smoke with the patch on if you need to.

    Using medicine increases your chances of quitting by 50%!

    Start with the 21mg patch regardless of how much you smoke. It is covered by most insurance plans and it will save you money even if it is not covered. Use it every day.

    STEP TWO – Add nicotine gum (4 mg) any time you feel the urge to smoke.

    Avoid using electronic cigarettes

    STEP THREEJoin a support group.

    There are many online support groups that will help or contact your local hospital for meetings.

    Some examples:

    1-800-QUITNOW

    FreedomFromSmoking www.ffsonline.org

    www.NYsmokefree.com

    www.breathefreely.org

    www.nicotineanonymous.org

    https://teen.smokefree.gov/800quitNow.aspx (

    STEP FOUR: SET YOUR QUIT DATE

    If you are having problems cutting down or quitting, additional medication can be most helpful.

    You will have a better chance of success if you consult a doctor with expertise in smoking cessation and join a support group. Failed at quitting before? Most people do. Don’t get down on yourself. Take pride in your continued attempt to do something about it.