What is it?
Smoking is the greatest cause of preventable illness and death in Australia. Around two-thirds of long-term smokers die ahead of their time because they smoke. There are more than 7,000 different chemical compounds in tobacco smoke. Seventy of those compounds are known to cause cancer. If you smoke, now’s the time to quit. If you’ve already tried to quit once, don’t despair. Quitting is not easy, and many people need to try a few times before they can quit completely. Your GP is in the best position to help you work out your next steps.
What will my GP do now?
Your GP will give you information and resources to help you learn how to quit. You will be asked to tell your GP about how often you smoke and how you feel about quitting. Your GP will help you make a plan for quitting and will talk to you about:
- What to expect when you quit
- Managing cravings
- Physical symptoms
- Strategies – cold turkey or medication
- Risks of medications
- Barriers to quitting – social pressure, etc
- Behaviour change strategies
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is a medication that help to manage cigarette cravings. NRT contains nicotine, the addictive substance in tobacco. However, NRT doesn’t contain other toxic substances and is not addictive. NRT can be used as a patch or oral medication. It is also approved for pregnancy.
E-cigarettes are promoted as a ‘healthier’ option because they provide nicotine without other side effects of regular cigarettes. However, the quality and safety of e-cigarettes has not been proven.
What will my GP do in the future?
Your GP will see you regularly to check in and monitor your treatment plan. You’ll discuss your progress and consider if you need to change your plan. Your GP might refer you to a counsellor if you’re having trouble quitting. Regular contact with your GP will increase your chances of quitting successfully, so continue to make follow-up appointments.