Nicotine Addiction

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If you’ve arrived here because you’re searching for resources to help yourself or someone close to you to break a nicotine addiction, whether it be cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, chewing tobacco or vaping, we applaud you. You’ve taken the first step.

Nicotine is a highly addictive drug. Smoking cessation programs offer resources and support groups so you don’t have to do this on your own.

If you’re ready to make a change, reach out for information about our free classes for cigarette smoking cessation and quitting other tobacco products, which follow the American Lung Association Freedom From Smoking program. We also offer the American Lung Association’s N-O-T: Not on Tobacco program designed specifically to help teens quit or cut back on tobacco products. If you’d like more information about our smoking cessation programs, call the Norton Prevention & Wellness team at (502) 899-6842.

What Works When You’re Trying to Quit?

Smoking cessation programs provide structured support, counseling and resources to help you quit smoking. These programs are highly effective for many and include behavioral therapy, group support and access to medications. Quitting smoking or other tobacco products isn’t easy. Some can do it on their own, but help along the way improves your chances of success.

The best way to quit smoking varies from person to person. Sometimes it’s best to start your health journey by talking with your primary care physician about your options.

  • Nicotine replacement therapy includesnicotine gum, patches, lozenges, nasal spray and inhalers that gradually reduce nicotine dependence.
  • Prescription smoking medication such as bupropion (Zyban) or varenicline (Chantix) can be prescribed by your health care provider and have been shown to be effective with tobacco use disorder.
  • Behavioral therapy includes individual and group counseling sessions available in-person and online.
  • Mobile apps and online resources offer support to set goals and track progress.
  • Hypnotherapy can alter thoughts, feelings and behaviors related to smoking.
  • Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body.
  • Mindfulness and stress reduction such as deep breathing exercises, yoga and meditation can help with focus and determination and provide news ways to cope as you quit.

A comprehensive smoking cessation program such as Freedom From Smoking includes many of these techniques to improve your chances of long-term success.

Norton Community Medical Associates primary care offices are located across the Louisville and Southern Indiana area. Your primary care provider can help you with next steps in smoking cessation, or you may visit a Norton Prompt Care clinic if you’re in need of a same-day appointment.

Nicotine Withdrawal

You are likely concerned about nicotine withdrawal symptoms as you consider quitting. While distracting and possibly distressing, these symptoms are a temporary challenge on your way to becoming tobacco-free. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Intense nicotine craving
  • Mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased appetite

Nicotine’s cycle of addiction starts with the release of dopamine in your brain, giving you a feeling of pleasure. As it binds to nicotine receptors in your brain, it leads to even more dopamine release, reinforcing the desire to continue smoking cigarettes or using other forms of tobacco over time. Giving up that feeling of pleasure, as well as the physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms, makes quitting nicotine difficult.

Nicotine replacement therapy such as nicotine gum or patches are part of a strategy to gradually reduce your nicotine dependence as you quit smoking or other tobacco products.

Benefits of Quitting Tobacco Use

While short-term mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression can be a withdrawal symptom, behavioral health research has shown an association between quitting smoking and reduced depression, anxiety and stress. Researchers concluded that the effects of smoking cessation were the same or greater than using antidepressants.

According to the American Cancer Society, quitting smoking lowers your risk of lung, stomach, pancreas, liver, cervix and colon cancer over time. Your risk for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) decreases as well. Your risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and other conditions goes down.

Quitting smoking also can add as much as 10 years to your life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition to boosting your health, quitting smoking saves money and improves the taste of food and your sense of smell. You smell better, your teeth and fingernails stop yellowing and you become short of breath less often.

Shortly after smoking that last cigarette, your body begins a series of changes that continue for years.

  • Twenty minutes after quitting, your heart rate drops.
  • Twelve hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • Two weeks to three months after quitting, your heart attack risk begins to drop. Your lung function begins to improve.
  • One to nine months after quitting, your coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
  • One year after quitting, your added risk for coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker.
  • Five to 15 years after quitting, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s.
  • Ten years after quitting, your risk of death from lung cancer is about half that of a smoker. Your risks for cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decrease.
  • Fifteen years after quitting, your risk for coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker’s.

Norton Now: Care When You Need It

  • Get medical care when and where it works for you.
    • Norton Community Medical Associates primary care is your medical home. More than 35 locations across the Louisville area and Southern Indiana means there’s an office close to home, work or school. Your primary care physician knows you and your health and performs annual checkups to stay ahead of any emerging conditions. Our doctors and nurse practitioners connect you to the full Norton Healthcare system, giving you and your family easy access to the area’s leading specialty physicians.
    • More than 15 Norton Immediate Care Centers offer treatment for minor illnesses and injuries. Reserve your spot in line and we’ll text you when it’s time to check in. All Norton Immediate Care Centers are equipped with X-ray machines.
    • Norton Prompt Care clinics have same-day appointments available when you need care for yourself or your family. All locations offer extended weekday and weekend hours. Many are located within Walgreens stores.
    • Norton eCare allows you to visit with a provider via secure video or by simply answering questions online about your symptoms.
    • Emergency care is available for a very serious illness or injury that puts your life in danger. Get treatment 24/7 at nine locations in Louisville and Southern Indiana, including three locations for kids.
  • Medicaid, Medicare and most major commercial insurance plans are accepted.
  • Get test results, renew prescriptions, communicate with your health care provider, get notified if an earlier appointment becomes available and more with your free Norton MyChart account.

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