If you have tried to quit smoking before and failed, you are not alone. Dr. Robin Mermelstein of the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois says it takes three to four attempts before people finally kick the habit. Bob talks with Dr. Mermelstein about the best ways to quit smoking and the dangerous effect it has on you and the people you love.
Dr. Mermelstein says that acupuncture, hypnosis and going "cold turkey" are popular methods of quitting smoking, but they don't have as high of a success rate as the nicotine patch, gum and other nicotine-replacement therapies. Teamed with behavior moderation, the latter three methods can be even more successful, she says. "You need to have the right behavioral strategies [and] you need to deal with the physical addiction," Dr. Mermelstein says. "Also, support [from friends and family] helps."
Dr. Mermelstein outlines three reasons why you should stop smoking.
Health: "Cigarette smoking is probably the leading preventable cause of death and illness in the United States today," Dr. Mermelstein says. "About one in five deaths are related to smoking." The sooner you make the commitment to quitting, the better your chances are of living longer, she says.
Children: Dr. Mermelstein says secondhand smoke is very bad for kids—particularly for young children. Children who live with smokers have more respiratory illnesses, they don't do as well in school, and they're also more likely to become smokers themselves, she says. "These children go on and keep having more and more generations of smokers," she says.
Economy: "Smoking ripples through our economy," Dr. Mermelstein says. Not only do smokers take more time off work because they're sick more often, the co-workers of smokers often feel the effects of the habit, too, she says.