Smoking Cessation: Helping patients to achieve their goal.
08 Jul 2011
Smoking cessation is the process of discontinuing the practice of inhalation of a smoked substance. More and more smokers want to give up their habit and luckily, there is lots of help available. Smoking cessation does not necessarily have to involve the use of medication or professional help- it can be achieved alone. This is personal choice.
Methods of Smoking Cessation:
This is the process where all nicotine use is abruptly stopped. This method can be very successful for some smokers but also very unsuccessful for others.
Local NHS Stop Smoking services/
This service is available in most areas and offers help and advice for smokers to achieve their ultimate goal. Smokers aren't expected to quit straight away, they are given two weeks preparation in order to mentally and physically prepare themselves for the challenge ahead of them. It is also possible to speak to someone one-on-one.
“Smokefree Together programme”/
Another option from the NHS is this programme which is designed for busy people who find it difficult attending the meetings. This programme involves then use of texts, emails, phone calls and mail packs in order to help and inspire smokers to achieve their goal.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)/
There are various medicines available to aid quitting. NRT works differently to cigarettes in the sense that it does not contain toxic chemicals like tar and carbon monoxide and it does not cause cancer. NRT is suitable for most people however you would need an assessment with your GP first. Pregnancy and heart conditions can affect whether you can use NRT. Products available are:
- Nicotine gum- through chewing this gum, nicotine absorbs through the oral tissue.
- Nicotine patches- can be worn around the clock or just during the day. Nicotine is released directly into the bloodstream.
- Micro tablets- these tablets are dissolved under the tongue.
- Lozenges- when sucked slowly, these lozenges provide nicotine into the system within 20-30 minutes.
- Inhalators- perfect for people who miss the hand to mouth action of smoking, these cigarette shaped Inhalators release a nicotine vapour which is absorbed through the mouth and throat.
- Nicotine nasal spray- with a quick spray up the nose, nicotine is released and absorbed through the lining of the nose.
- Zyban- this medicine changes the way your body responds to nicotine and should be taken one to two weeks before quitting. This programme lasts a couple of months. Only available on prescription.
- Champix- this medicine works by reducing the need for a cigarette and also the effects the body feels when having a cigarette. As with Zyban, Champix should be taken one to two weeks before quitting but the programme lasts 12 weeks. Only available on prescription.
The smokefree.nhs.co.uk website is a fantastic tool to use as it has more details on the above information and also has quizzes and helpful tools such as a cost calculator to help and inspire people to quit.
How can we use this information to help and advise our patients?
- We can attend training sessions in order to gain more knowledge on how to offer effective smoking cessation.
- We, as a dental team, can assess patients’ smoking status and explain the benefits of quitting.
- If the patient is responsive, we can offer advice and help on quitting and the various methods available. We can also direct them to help-lines and meetings.
- We can provide leaflets and other resources in-practice for patients to view and take away.
- We can monitor patients and offer encouragement and praise.