Get a life, quit smoking
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Get a life, quit smoking

The benefits of stubbing out can be felt as quickly as 20 minutes after your last cigarette. Take a break, pals.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2006 14:05 IST

Nobody wantsto quit smoking, according to Richard Clayton, a drug addiction expert who created a stop smoking programme with a fellow University of Kentucky professor. “It’s hard for them to see themselves not smoking,” Clayton said of heavy smokers. “It’s something that fits with their self-identities.” People who say they love to smoke aren’t just in denial, he said. They do love it. But they also know it’s killing them and often are looking for a way out.

Most people have tried to quit at least three times before they are successful, said Clayton, who created the Cooper-Clayton Method with Thomas Cooper, a retired University of Kentucky dentistry professor.

Although the American Lung Association gave the state of Kentucky a failing grade last week in combating smoking — its fourth failing grade in as many years — the 13-week Cooper-Clayton method is offered free throughout Kentucky.

Most women relapse because of weight gain or the fear of weight gain, Clayton said. Most men relapse because they fall back into old habits, like hanging out with their smoking buddies.

One of the keys to quitting and not starting again, he said, is to use a nicotine-replacement method. Clayton and his partner have combed through the clinicaltrial information submitted to the government to determine which brands get the nicotine to the brain the fastest.

They suggest 4 millig ram Nicorette gum, the NicoDerm patch and the NiQuitin lozenges created by Glaxo Smith Kline. Angry at giving up your favourite pastime? Clayton suggests using the gum or the lozenges because you have more control over when you receive a dose of nicotine, and it allows you to be more active.

Slapping on a patch in the mor ning is a more passive approach.

Before quitting, he suggested, talk to your doctor, especially if you are taking prescription med ication.

Even if you don’t want to quit, he said, it’s worth a try.

He likes to emphasise that smoking “is an addiction to nicotine.” And “addictions can be treated.” When smokers quit, what are the benefits over time?

20 minutes after quitting: Blood pressure drops to a level close to what it was before the last cigarette. The temperature of the hands and feet increase to normal.

Eighthours after quitting: Carbon monoxide level in the blood drops to normal.

24 hours after quitting: Chance of a heart attack decreases.

2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Circulation improves, and lung function increases as much as 30 percent.

1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath decrease as the cilia (tiny hairlike structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function.

1year after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker's.

5 to 15 years after quitting: Stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker.

10 years after quitting: Lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker's. Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decreases.

15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker's.

First Published: Feb 07, 2006 12:05 IST