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Mary Ella’s Weekly Message
September 26, 2011
You give yourself the best chance of becoming smokefree when you combine a behavior modification program (like FFS Online) with an FDA-approved medication. Many people try using a medication alone thinking it's a magic bullet for quitting. But as you already know, there is no magic bullet to become smokefree—it takes good planning and using the right medication can only help.
How do you decide which medication is right for you? A couple of medications, the nicotine patch and gum, are sold over-the-counter, but they may not be the right choice for everyone. The American Lung Association suggests that you talk with your physician or health care provider about the seven different medications that are available and decide together which one is right for you. Each person is different and your medical history may mean that one medication is more appropriate for you than another. Some of the medications are designed for people who smoke more than others.
FFS Online includes a great chart listing the medications and it can be found in Module 1 of the Premium program and Module B of the Basic program. Print out the chart and take it to your health care provider when you discuss quit-smoking medications. You can also talk with a nurse or respiratory therapist about the medications by calling our Lung HelpLine, a free service that's offered 8:00 a.m.–midnight Eastern, seven days a week: 1-800-LUNG-USA (586-4872).
Perhaps you have tried a medication before and it didn't work for you. Talk about that with your health care provider to see if a different option might work better. Think about why that medication didn't work as well. Did you take it as suggested or prescribed? Did you take it long enough? Those are the most common errors people make with quit-smoking medications. They either don't use it as often as they should or they stop taking it sooner than they should. If you use the medication as suggested or prescribed, you increase your chances of quitting smoking.
Some participants think that using medication to quit is a sign of weakness and that quitting cold turkey is the only way to go. We at the American Lung Association believe that medications can help but the decision is ultimately up to you. It's important to remember that there are many ways to reach the same goal—there is no "one way to quit" that is right for everyone. Some people can't take the medications because of special circumstances. That's OK, too. Millions of smokers have been able to quit without using a medication.
If the cost of the medication is a barrier for you, ask your health care provider if he or she knows any possible solutions. You should also check the Partnership for Prescription Assistance website to see if you qualify for reduced-cost or free medication. And don't forget about the Lung HelpLine (1-800-LUNG-USA). Our registered nurses, respiratory therapists and smoking cessation experts may be able to tell you about free or discounted medication options in your state or community.
If you are using a medication, be sure to help others by posting on the Message Boards how that one is working for you. Post your questions, too.
I’ll see you on the Message Boards! :-) Mary Ella
Don’t forget: If you're in the Premium program and want help fast on the Message Boards, put "HELP NOW" in the subject line of your post. If you're looking to offer help, watch for those, "HELP NOW" posts and alert your other FFS Online buddies to offer some assistance as well.