nicotine treatment

Tobacco Use Disorders

What is Tobacco Use Disorder?

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Research shows that nearly all (88%) of adult smokers began smoking before the age of 18. While the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s surveys have shown tobacco use declining over time, the issue has renewed in the form of alternative tobacco products. These include electronic cigarettes (vapes, e-cigs), cigars, smokeless tobacco, and hookah, among others. These can contain higher levels of nicotine and create dependence in youths who otherwise would not consider smoking.

Casual smoking crosses over into tobacco use disorder when people become dependent on the drug nicotine. This can be assessed through a basic questionnaire, consisting of questions like “How many cigarettes do you smoke in a day?” and “How soon after you wake up do you smoke or chew?”

How Do You Know When to Stop Smoking?

There’s no shortage of reasons to quit smoking. Countless studies have shown the harmful effects that nicotine and its associated products have on your health. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that men who smoke lose an average of 13.2 years off of their life expectancy, while women lose 14.5 years. This is primarily due to the diseases that come with tobacco use, including but not limited to lung cancer, emphysema, stroke, coronary artery disease, and a suppressed immune system.

Beyond health risks, there are so many benefits to discontinuing your tobacco use. Your senses will sharpen, making food taste and smell better. Your clothing, home, and person will smell better too – no more lingering smoke on your jackets. Your endurance and physical abilities will return, as you’re able to breathe more normally. Beyond this, you’ll set a better example for young people and children in your life – those who see their parents smoke are more likely to begin smoking themselves, and they also suffer health consequences from secondhand smoke.

FDA-Approved Medication for Tobacco Use Disorder

Research shows that over 70% of the 46 million Americans who smoke want to quit, but unfortunately it’s difficult to do on your own. Those who don’t participate in a structured smoking cessation program fail 95% of the time. This is why it’s important to seek support and medical attention when quitting, even if you don’t believe tobacco use is as serious as other drug use.

Over the counter nicotine replacement (patches, gum or lozenges) can manage nicotine withdrawal, but they do little for cravings. This is where the team at Calming Goat can set you up for success. There are three medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat tobacco use disorders. The nicotine inhaler and nasal spray deliver nicotine more rapidly to the brain and so are available only by prescription that can be tapered off. Bupropion is an antidepressant and Varenicline is a nicotine partial agonist that reduces craving for cigarettes and has been helpful in smoking cessation. All of these options are available to our clients as appropriate, and can ensure long term success.

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