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Health: Great American Smokeout

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – We’re making an Office Visit about Great American Smokeout. Medical Reporter Stephanie Stahl has more on effective ways to quit smoking.

More than 80 percent of lung cancer deaths are due to smoking. The American Cancer Society is encouraging smokers to kick the habit with today’s smoke out campaign.

We’re checking in with Carolyn Heckman, an expert from Fox Chase Cancer Center, who helps people stop smoking.

We asked, what are the best ways to quit smoking?

“I don’t recommend cold turkey. The most affective ways to quit smoking are combination of medication and counseling. So medications would be nicotine replacements, like the gum and the patch, and pills like Zyban and Chantix. And then there are plenty of options for counseling as well,” said Carolyn.

We asked, how do smoking cessation drugs work?

“They all help reduce the cravings and the withdrawal symptoms,” said Carolyn.

We asked, should people be concerned about the side effects of smoking cessation medications?

“They should be aware of the side effects, but not particularly worried. The risks of smoking are much worse than the risks of the cessation medications. And most of the side effects may last for a few days and then most people find them tolerable,” said Carolyn.

We asked, what can family members do to help a loved one successfully quit?

“They should ask their loved one what would be helpful to them. Cause even the best intentions can come off as nagging. So its important to be patient with the loved one and just try to be supportive, let them know you’re there for them,” said Carolyn.

Experts say the best way to help a family member quit is to stop smoking yourself.

Carolyn is giving general medical information, if you have a specific concern about something you should talk to your doctor.

RELATED LINKS:

Great American Smokeout- http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/StayAwayfromTobacco/GreatAmericanSmokeout/index
Fox Chase Smoking Cessation Study- http://www.fccc.edu/news/2010/2010-11-15-rapt.html
PA Dept. of Health Quit Smoking Information- http://www.determinedtoquit.com/
Free Help to Quit Smoking- http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/tobacco/smoking

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