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Mary Ella’s Weekly Message
February 28, 2011
Using Medication to Quit
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? There are a couple of medications—the nicotine patch and gum—which are sold over-the-counter, but that doesn’t mean that they are 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 than another for you.
We include a wonderful chart of medications as part of FFS Online that can be found in Module 1 of the Premium program and Module B of the Basic program. Print the chart and take it to your health care provider when you discuss quit-smoking medications.
Perhaps you have tried a medication before and it didn’t work. Think about why that medication didn’t work. Did you take it as suggested or prescribed? Did you take it long enough? Talk about that with your health care provider to see if a different option might work better.
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, talk to your health care provider about possible solutions. You can also call the Lung HelpLine, a free service offered Monday–Friday, from 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., Eastern Time: 1-800-LUNG-USA or 586-4872. Registered nurses, respiratory therapists and smoking cessation experts are on the other end of the line to answer your questions and lead you to options that may be available 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.