Tip one: be gentle. You may be thinking, ‘I’ve tried that and slipped up. Quitting is impossible.’ Dr. Cadena wants you to not be so hard on yourself. His first and most important tip is, do not get upset with yourself if it doesn’t work the first time. “People revert back sometimes, and that’s why it’s a process.” The process is, you’re thinking about quitting, you’re actively quitting, and then you are maintaining. “It’s not ‘I quit. It’s over. It’s done.’ It’s ongoing and you have to think about it as a process, not as a ‘my quit day was a long time ago, I’m done with it.’ Some people say that and have no intentions or think about smoking at all, but for most people, I think it’s still in the back of their mind.”
Tip two: seek support. “The support we can offer is in the realm of behavioral health, which is trying to get rid of that behavior. There is also medication support. For most people, you want to try to put yourself in the best position to be successful, and you are going to increase your odds if you have medication.” These two support systems help you deal with the root of the issue. Dr. Cadena says that smoking is both a behavior and chemical addiction.
Tip three: follow-up, often. Follow up is tip three. You’ve decided you want to quit smoking. You find yourself the support needed to quit. Great! But now it is important to set yourself up for success by following up. This means, frequent follow-up visits, getting in touch with other resources such as QuitTxt, a free texting and online support service to help you quit smoking, therapy, etc. It really depends on your need. “It (what you need to quit smoking) is individualized and is not the same for everybody, but it’s the keeping connected that is the key. You’re not just responsible on your own, you’re held accountable.”
Step four: be accountable. Intentionally telling people you are quitting can be vital. This includes friends and family. “If you are telling your friends you are stopping, now they know, it’s on their radar, they have to be mindful of it all. Sometimes that way you find a quitting buddy, you find other ways that are helpful to you, too.”
For more information on the tobacco cessation program at UT Health Verde Hills, visit verdehills.uthscsa.edu/services/tobacco-cessation/ or call 210-450-6530.