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By ACCORDANT HEALTH SERVICES
If you have CF (cystic fibrosis) it is not safe for you to smoke. Smoking is not good for anyone, but it is especially bad for people with CF. Smoking makes it harder for your lungs to work right. It irritates the lining of the lungs and increases coughing. It also makes the lungs produce more mucus. These factors make it easier for a lung infection to start.
Smoking may make airway clearance treatments less effective. It may take away the benefits the lungs get from exercise. Smoking is also bad for people with CF because it can reduce hunger. This can result in weight loss. Losing weight due to smoking would be bad for anyone who is already not growing normally.
Secondhand smoke is any smoke that comes from cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, or that is breathed out by a person who is smoking. If you are the parent of a child with CF, you should not smoke because secondhand smoke is harmful to your child. For those with a certain CF gene type, secondhand smoke can even shorten their lives.
Teach your child to avoid secondhand smoke. Do not allow other people to smoke around your child. The only way to fully protect yourself and your child from secondhand smoke is to make sure you stay in non-smoking settings. Make your home and car smoke-free. Ensure that your child's day care center and school are also smoke-free.
We Know It's Not Easy
You probably hear it from all of your doctors. You must quit smoking! You might even want to quit now. It's very hard to quit smoking. Maybe you have already tried once. Maybe you have tried to quit a few hundred times. The most important thing is that you try again.
It's very hard to quit smoking. Most people do not succeed the first time they try. This is normal and it's nothing to be ashamed about. There is not one right way to quit. What works for you might not work for someone else. There are many tools and aids to help you quit when you decide that you are ready.
The most important part of the process is deciding that you want to quit. Your doctor and your AccordantCare™ nurse can help you quit. Each person who decides that it's time for them does so for a different reason. For some people that reason is health. For other people it's to save money. Still others want to live to see a special life event, like a wedding or graduation. There is no right or wrong reason to quit.
Once you decide that you want to quit there are several things you can do to make it easier:
- Make the decision to quit smoking. Choose a date to quit that is two to four weeks away. It should be a normal day, not a special day. Special days, like birthdays and holidays, can be stressful enough already. Keep your stress low on your quit day.
- Get ready to quit. Talk to your doctor about how he or she can help if you decide to use some type of nicotine replacement therapy.
- Make a list of the reasons why it is important to quit. Keep this list handy and refer to it often. Your list will not be the same as someone else's list. That is great! Your list should be different.
- Keep track of where, when and why you smoke. If you always smoke when you do certain things and you know that, find a new, healthier habit to replace your cigarettes. To try:
- Chew sugarless gum or suck on hard candy
- Go for a walk right after meals
- Take a different route to and from work
- Keep your hands busy with a hobby like woodworking or knitting
- Throw away all tobacco, ash trays, lighters, and anything else that you use when you smoke.
- Stay away from the people and places that tempt you to smoke. You can return to them after you've been smoke free for awhile.
- Put the plan into action. Stop smoking! Do things other than smoke. Talk to friends. Read a book. Do things that you like to do.
- Reward yourself for every day you do not smoke. You could put money in a jar for each day you do not smoke. At the end of a set period of time, buy yourself something special. Whatever your reward system, make it meaningful for you.
The Good News
If you quit smoking, the benefits start right away. You will benefit even if you already have a smoking-related disease. Consider these facts:
- Just 20 minutes after you stop smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
- 12 hours after you stop smoking the carbon monoxide in your blood drops to a normal level.
- Women who quit smoking before pregnancy, or by their fourth month, cut their risk of having a low birth weight baby. Their risk is the same as for women who have never even smoked.
- A year after you quit, your risk for heart disease will be half as much as a smoker's risk.
The Best Reason to Quit
The very best reason to quit smoking is that it will help you and your family live longer. About half of all smokers who choose not to quit die from an illness related to smoking. Smoking takes about 13 years of life from the average male smoker. It takes about 14½ years from the average female smoker. About 440,000 Americans die every year because of smoking. The Surgeon General has said that to quit smoking is "the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives."
Are You Ready to Quit?
If you have ever tried to quit smoking, you know it's not easy. Many people try to quit several times before they succeed. Check with your health plan. Many offer special programs to help people quit smoking. If you are thinking about quitting, ask your AccordantCare nurse for help, too.
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Last Modified Date: March 19, 2009 © Accordant Health Services, a CVS/Caremark company. All rights reserved.
This article has been reviewed for accuracy by a member of the Accordant Health Services Medical Advisory Team.
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