If you’re thinking about quitting, then talking to your doctor will give you the very best chance of success. In fact, you're up to 4x more likely to succeed in quitting with the help of a healthcare professional compared to quitting unaided.1That certainly makes a visit to the doctor worthwhile!
Still not convinced? Here are a few reasons why you might want to see your doctor.
- 95–97 percent of people who quit cold turkey (without any support) begin smoking again within 6–12 months.2
- Smoking is not like picking your nose. It’s not just a ‘bad habit’. It’s an addiction – a chronic condition. Getting support through your doctor will help manage all three aspects of this addiction: the physical, social and mental.
- Quitting is not easy, and you may experience some physical withdrawal symptoms. You may feel irritable, have urges to smoke, be restless or have difficulty concentrating. Often these symptoms are the toughest part of quitting. Your doctor can provide advice on managing these symptoms and on how smoking cessation medicines can help if you have a nicotine dependency.
- Smoking has probably been part of your everyday life for some time. Do you have a cigarette first thing in the morning with your coffee? Or as an afternoon break, or when you’re feeling overwhelmed at work? Once you decide to quit smoking, you’ll need to find ways to overcome these daily temptations. That’s where counselling can come in.
What should you talk about with your doctor when asking for help to quit?
Counselling includes practical advice consisting of problem solving and skills training to change daily behaviours, as well as providing you with social support.
There are many different types of counselling services available, including group, individual face-to-face and telephone support lines. Have a chat to your doctor about the type of counselling that might work best for you.
- Nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT): 3 Works by providing the body with doses of nicotine without the toxins of a cigarette to help reduce withdrawal symptoms. NRT comes in a variety of different forms such as patches, gum, lozenges and others.
- Nicotine-free medicines: 4 These help reduce the desire to smoke as well as symptoms you experience when you give up smoking. They come as a tablet and are only available on prescription from your doctor.
NRT and nicotine-free medicines are not suitable for everyone and your doctor is the best person to talk to about whether a medicine is appropriate for you.
Ask your doctor if they can suggest additional tools that may help you to quit. Your doctor's clinic may include healthcare professionals who can offer hypnotherapy or relaxation programs.
What you need to tell your doctor
If you have a history of mental illness such as depression or anxiety, it's important to talk to your doctor about how you can manage these while you are quitting.
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant so they can tailor your quitting plan to your needs.
Coming up with a quit plan that addresses your individual needs will give you the best chance of success. If you are a light smoker, counselling alone may be all that you need. If you are a smoker with a dependency on nicotine, you may need to combine medicine, counselling and other options to give you the best chance of success.
Whatever type of smoker you are, don’t go it alone. Talk to your doctor about getting the help you need.