Smoking is one of the leading causes of death and addiction in the United States. Smoking is one of the many ways of substance abuse and is dangerous to a person’s life and even leads to death. Nicotine, which is the major component of cigarettes, has adverse effects on the body major organs. For starters, in the respiratory system, the lungs are the major organs; as one becomes a regular smoker, the function of the lungs begins to decrease, increasing the risk for infection and with time this could lead to pneumonia or influenza. When we weaken our immune system by smoking we are subjecting ourselves to other lung disease, we take longer to heal, and we are decreasing our body’s antioxidants in the blood. Smoking has major effects on the heart causing an increase in “stroke and coronary heart disease, which are among the leading cause of death in the United States”. Smoking also increases blood pressure as well as the heart rate which makes the heart work harder than normal. Therefore, if a person suffers from high blood pressure and is taking medications to control it, he or she is risking the chance of developing kidney disease.
Your body’s blood circulation is also affected increasing your chances of getting blood clots, as well as, increasing the risk of developing atherosclerosis, a condition caused when fat is deposited on the walls of the arteries. Smoking causes, 90% of lung cancer and 80% of deaths are caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema; “in both disorders, the lungs lose their ability to transfer oxygen to the bloodstream, and so the person is in effect asphyxiating”. People with chronic bronchitis developed a chronic cough which worsens overtime. Those who develop emphysema suffer from shortness of breath due to their lungs losing elasticity to draw an effective breath, and so, both cause the patient to experience trouble breathing with the slightest exertio. Smoking also can lead to cerebrovascular disease in which the blood supply to the brain becomes damaged affecting your brain function. Continuous exposure to nicotine develops tolerance of its effects also known as neuroadaptation. The use of nicotine products creates a hunger for nicotine which creates the need for the chemical leading to dependency. Withdrawal from nicotine causes elevated anxiety and also increases stress levels causing the smoker to want to feed the hunger to avoid the feeling of withdrawal.
Cessation from tobacco addiction is not an easy process as its dependency is not only biological but also sociological. Current methods of treatment include pharmacotherapy and behavioral therapy. Pharmacotherapy non-nicotine medications include varenicline tartrate (Chantix) and bupropion SR (Zyban), prescription medications include nicotine patch, inhaler, and nasal spray, and over- the counter products include, nicotine patch, gum, and lozenge. The prescription medication Chantix, decreases your desire to smoke, while also reducing withdrawal symptoms, and Zyban is an antidepressant drug that also reduces the need to smoke as well as reducing nicotine withdrawals. On the other hand, behavioral treatment includes health professionals intervening by encouraging and supporting cessation from smoking as well as structured programs such rehabilitation centers which deal with withdrawal, help the patients to cope with smoking cravings and also ensure that they do not relapse. Other services are quit line services; normally “free support, advice, and counseling from experienced quit line coaches, a personalized quit plan…”.
Physicians can use the Five A’s Approach during intervention for patients who are willing and ready to quit smoking. They are: Ask about the use of tobacco-why does the patient smoke? Advise all users to quit- showing them the negative effects of smoking. Assess the patient’s willingness to attempt to quit- are they committed? Assist the patient to quit- enroll them in rehab centers and group therapy. Arrange for a follow-up- contact by setting appointments to assess the patient’s progress. The Five A’s approach is very effective in smoking cessation. This mode of therapy also includes there types of counseling: training smokers and imparting them with problem-solving skills that is they should avoid being in situations where there are people smoking and also identifying what triggers them to smoke and how to cope with such situations. Providing smokers with social support such being in group therapies and enable them to obtain support from other people outside treatment such relatives and friends.
However, for patients who are not willing and are not ready to quit at that particular time, the health practitioner can use the five R’s approach. First, Relevance- they should be taught why it is important to quit smoking by making them aware of their health condition and how it is being impacted by smoking. Second, Risk- create awareness on the effects of continuous smoking on their current health conditions. Third, Rewards- both short term and long term impacts of cessation on their health such as improved immune system. Fourth, Roadblocks- help the patients be aware of the situations that could prevent them or delay their cessation and how to cope and deal with them. Last, Repetition- most patients require to be constantly reminded of the other four R’s for them to cave in and accept to quit. Campaigns, especially in the mass media, can be conducted as a way of creating awareness and educating people on the effects of smoking and also provide them with ways of cessation. Most cigarette advertisements paint cigarettes as cool to use, and they are available and cheap. Despite these advertisements including the phrase that too much smoking is harmful to your health, they fail to tell people that cigarettes cause addiction which makes them dangerous to their health. The introduction of smoke-free places, especially in public places, encourages smokers not to smoke by showing them its effects both to the user and nonuser. Public and private policies formulated to restrict smoking has been one of the most effective approaches to promote cessation. Smokers who are willing to quit are encouraged to avoid being around people who are still smoking. This will reduce their chances of relapsing.
Smoking has many negative side effects to a person’s health. Smoking cessation should, therefore, be encouraged always because it affects both the active and inactive smokers. An active smoker who has already developed problems can get better by quitting. Inactive smokers who have just quit can be encouraged not to relapse. Development of smoking cessation programs should be introduced in health facilities and pharmacological companies should be encouraged to provide nicotine substitutes to addicts to enable them to curb their addiction. Efforts should be made to ensure that smoking is completely prohibited in public spaces.
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