Quitting does not have to be an agonizing process, do not let the fear of nicotine withdrawal hold you back!
Whether you are a traditional smoker, using nicotine vape, or using other nicotine products, we can help you reduce or eliminate your nicotine use.
Three big reasons: Your health, your finances, and most people using these products want to quit but are unable to do it alone.
We probably do not need to tell you that traditional cigarettes contain thousands of chemicals and are well known to cause numerous medical problems. Our society has invested an enormous amount of money into smoking cessation campaigns. Smoking cessation is often touted as the best single thing any smoker can do to improve their health and lifespan. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC, 2022), smoking is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide and causes nearly half a million deaths per year in the United States (comprising 20% of total deaths). Additionally, the CDC reports 16 million Americans live with a disease acquired through smoking and smokers die 10 years earlier than non-smokers on average.
The cost of cigarettes varies significantly state to state but a one pack per day smoker may spend an estimated average of $8 per pack or $2,920 per year on cigarettes. Over 50 years this amounts to $146,000. A 2 pack per day smoker would spend around $292,000 over 50 years. While many vaping products are less expensive, vaping a similar quantity of nicotine may still average approximately half of that amount; for a one pack per day vape equivalent this would be $1,460 per year, or $73,000 over 50 years. A 2 pack per day vape equivalent would cost around $146,000 over 50 years. There have been numerous studies attempting to calculate the total lifetime cost of being a smoker, with a wide range of results. The total lifetime cost for nicotine products and increased healthcare expenses combined is somewhere between 1 to 3 million per smoker.
You probably want to quit:
Nicotine is a highly addictive, psychoactive substance. Individuals know the amount they spend on the products and the negative impact they have on their health and lifespan. Most want to quit but struggle to do so. That is just how addictive and powerful this substance is. Needing to indulge a craving numerous times throughout the day and worrying about withdrawal symptoms without a substance is not a good feeling.
What about vaping, isn't it healthier than smoking?
It seems only logical that vaping nicotine alone would much healthier than smoking traditional cigarettes with thousands of chemicals. As long as the vaping is replacing a smoking habit and not initiating a new habit it is likely a positive step. However, this does not make vaping or the use of other nicotine products healthy. As vaping is relatively new, how safe or harmful it will ultimately be is still being researched. There are some sources reporting a correlation between vaping and significantly increased healthcare costs.
Although these products are technically FDA "regulated," oversight remains extremely poor. There have been issues with varying nicotine levels and toxic, carcinogenic chemicals in vape liquid itself (or forming in response to the liquid being heated). A thickening agent used in some products recently has caused serious lung injuries and a number of deaths. When a vaping product is as advertised it is probably much safer and healthier than traditional smoking, but still carries risks.
What about non-tobacco nicotine products or replacement therapies that are not smoked or vaped, are they bad for you?
How harmful nicotine is by itself is still contested among reputable sources. Some believe the research proves it is relatively harmless and other sources point to research showing a link to numerous health issues. Further complicating this matter is that there are special interests on both side of the issue pushing their own agendas at the cost of the truth. Most sources seem to agree nicotine use has a negative impact on a brain that has not yet fully developed. While we are considered adults at age 18 in the United States, the brain is not fully mature until around age 25. Overall, nicotine replacement therapies likely have some health consequences, but are probably the least harmful of all. However, using these over the long-term will still have massive financial implications.
How we can help
At Baltimore Psychiatry we believe in a harm reduction approach and allow you to set your own pace. Complete cessation is always ideal, but reduction in use can also be an immensely worthwhile goal. We can often prescribe medication for a period of time that helps reduce the natural craving or desire to smoke. This medication may help improve mood as well and is non-addictive, so it can easily be stopped afterward.
In addition to medication, we may also utilize nicotine replacement therapies, such as nicotine gum or patches as part of a gradual step-down process. You may have even tried these replacement therapies before with limited success. This is often due in large part to a misunderstanding about how these replacement therapies should be used and are intended to work. A nicotine habit is incredibly difficult to break in the best of circumstances, so a comprehensive strategy and understanding is often needed to quit. Quitting is never easy, but these aids will minimize and even eliminate withdrawal symptoms so you remain comfortable during the process. Last but not least, stress management is an integral part of nicotine cessation.
Many delay the process out of fear about how they will feel or function during the reduction. We understand that anyone can stop taking a substance for a period of time. However, if they feel terrible without the substance, they will likely return to their old ways despite the negative health and financial consequences. Our goal is not to simply have you stop using these products. Our goal is to help you feel good without needing to rely on nicotine products in the first place.
Treatment We Provide
We can diagnose tobacco use disorder or nicotine dependence during an initial evaluation and prescribe medication to help you quit, if appropriate. Please see our services & pricing page for more information on our evaluation.
References: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, July 29). Diseases and death. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved March 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/diseases-and-death.html