6 Quit-Smoking Tips for COPD
How to quit smoking, starting today, if you have COPD.
4. Whatever Works
There are lots of resources to help you quit -- such as behavioral therapies, quit-smoking hotlines, and medications. Ramsdell says they all have about the same success rate. "There's a 20% chance with any of them that you will stop and stay smoke free," he says. "The good news is that each time you make an attempt, you have a one in five chance of quitting for good."
He often advises his patients to start by calling 800-NO-BUTTS, which is California's free quit-smoking help number. Every state has its own, and they are all equally effective. For one in your area, call 800-QUITNOW (800-784-8669).
A mix of counseling, education, and medications (such as nicotine patches and gum) works for many people, Folan says. She also says it's essential that you talk with your doctor about your smoking, because that may make you more likely to give quitting a try.
5. Stay Positive
For more than two decades, Kay Ferguson, 72, smoked up to five packs a day. When a bad case of pneumonia sent her to the hospital about three years ago, she was diagnosed with COPD. Though she had long since given up smoking, she now had to learn to contend with her disease. Her positive attitude has helped keep her COPD in check.
"I'm very stubborn," says Ferguson, who lives in Lemon Grove, Calif. "I expect my body to do what I want it to."
Through the pulmonary rehab program at UC San Diego, she learned exercises to help ease her symptoms and lessen her reliance on oxygen tanks. As a result, she still works at the San Diego Zoo.
Ferguson doesn't waste time blaming cigarettes for her disease. She's done with them and has moved on, though she says that her COPD does slow her down, especially on hot days.
"But I can't sit still. I have to keep up my stamina or die, and I'm not ready to die," says Ferguson, whose father died of COPD. "There's so much more to live for than a cigarette."
6. For Friends and Family
Quitting is not easy -- for the quitter or the people who love them. But it's worth it. If you are close with someone who is attempting to quit, here are a few ways to help.
- Expect some irritability as they adjust. Be patient and don't take it personally, Douglas says.
- Be supportive and non-judgmental, but set firm rules and stick to them. No smoking in the house should be rule number one, Ramsdell says. "Make smoking inconvenient."
- Be available. "Movies, dinner, basketball shoot around, accompany them to a smoking cessation class or support group, play games... anything that will take their minds off smoking in a fun, positive way," Folan says.