Happy New Year! Is your 2019 resolution to stop using cigarettes, cigars, chew, electronic cigarettes or the JUUL? If so, congratulations, this is a great first step towards a healthier you. Here are some tips and information to help you achieve your goal of a healthier lifestyle.

Nicotine is the main addictive substance in cigarettes, e-cigs, JUUL and other tobacco products. Nicotine is a drug that affects many parts of your body‚ especially your brain. Teenagers and young adults are uniquely at risk for long-lasting effects of exposing their developing brains to nicotine. These risks include: nicotine addiction, mood disorders, and harm to the parts of the brain that control attention and learning.

Nicotine is found in all tobacco products. E-cigarettes and JUUL mimic traditional cigarettes, and the user receives high doses of nicotine on demand. One JUUL or e-cigarette cartridge can have as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. When one stops using nicotine, the body goes through withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine withdrawal is different for every smoker. Some people have minimal withdrawal symptoms, others say it feels like a mild case of the flu. For most people, the worst symptoms last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. Managing and recognizing withdrawal symptoms will help you feel better and to be prepared for those tougher moments. Common symptoms include: cravings, dizziness, tiredness, feeling down, insomnia, feeling irritable, trouble concentrating, restlessness, increased appetite and headaches

Over time, the symptoms and cravings will fade, as long as you stay nicotine-free. One way to be prepared is to use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). NRT can be helpful for dealing with withdrawal and managing cravings. Using NRT and support doubles your chances of staying quit. Rutland Regional offers free weekly ongoing quit smoking groups and can assist with free or reduced-cost nicotine replacement quit aids. These groups are open to people who wish to stop using cigarettes, cigars, chew, E cigarettes and JUUL.

Quitting may feel challenging, and even impossible at times, but it is not. In fact, many people do succeed and are quite proud of their quitting. Don’t give up trying because you haven’t been successful in the past. Most people make multiple quit attempts before they finally quit smoking for good.

It is important to get support from other people. Tell your family, friends, or coworkers that you are going to quit and you want their support. Sharing your quitting smoking intentions will help you hold yourself accountable.

For more information on Tobacco Cessation or phone support resources contact 802-747-3768.

This week’s Health Talk Column was written by Sarah Cosgrove, respiratory therapist and master level tobacco treatment specialist for Rutland Regional Medical Center and the Blueprint for Health. www.rrmc.org

This week’s Health Talk Column was written by Sarah Cosgrove, Respiratory Therapist and Master Level Tobacco Treatment Specialist for Rutland Regional Medical Center and the Blueprint for Health. www.rrmc.org

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