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quitting smoking

11 strategies for quitting tobacco – and staying quit

It’s clear: The best possible thing you can do for your health if you’re a smoker is quit. If you’re ready to become a former smoker, these tips can help you succeed.

Set a date. Try to pick a time when temptations to smoke will be relatively low.

Make a plan. Tobacco is a serious addiction and hard to quit. But there are cessation aids available. Talk to you doctor or other healthcare providers about what might be right for you. There’s no glory in going cold turkey and making it harder on yourself.

Consider your triggers, and plan alternative responses ahead of time. Do you smoke when you’re stressed? Try meditation or start an exercise plan. If you tend to smoke after dinner, have some gum handy.

Make a list of the reasons WHY you’re quitting and reread it often. Constantly remind yourself of what’s good about not smoking. When it’s 0 degrees outside, isn’t it nice not have to stand out there to smoke?

Enjoy the benefits of quitting. Your senses of smell and taste will begin to return after you’ve quit – plan to buy yourself flowers or a lovely smelling essential oil. Or occasionally treat yourself to a small square of heart-healthy dark chocolate – just be careful not to go overboard and substitute food for smoking.

Tell someone. Ask a friend to help keep you accountable and to be there to listen when you struggle.

Prepare your environment. Go through your home, your desk and your car and remove all traces of cigarettes, lighters, matches and ashtrays. Consider cleaning the interior of your car and washing curtains, bed linens and your clothes to remove traces of smoke and make everything smell fresh.

Create new routines that don’t involve cigarettes. If you always take an afternoon break with the smoking crowd, plan for a break 30 minutes earlier and go for a walk instead. If you always smoke after dinner, plan another way to spend your time.

Likewise, get some distance from other smokers. Let your smoking friends and family know that your routine is changing and that you’d rather they not smoke around you. Anyone who tries to tempt you back into smoking doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

Use the money you don’t spend on cigarettes to save up for something you want. Cigarettes are expensive; give yourself added incentive to quit by planning to use that money for something great.

If you fall down, pick yourself up and keep going. You’re not a failure if you succumb to one temptation; you’re only a failure if you stop trying. Think about what caused you to smoke and how you might avoid or handle that temptation better next time.


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tobacco treatment training

Training program at UK is helping others kick their tobacco habit

The UK College of Nursing’s BREATHE Tobacco Treatment Specialist (TTS) training program recently received accreditation from the Council for Tobacco Treatment Training Programs, making it one of only 18 accredited training programs for tobacco treatment in the world.

The BREATHE TTS training program was developed as a collaborative effort by UK and community partners interested in establishing a network of health professionals who can provide evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment.

Earning accreditation means TTS training programs comply with established education standards. Those who complete an accredited program demonstrate a high level of proficiency in tobacco dependence treatment and will be eligible to obtain a certification as a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist.

“We are so pleased to receive accreditation and provide greater access to tobacco treatment training through this all-online format,” said Audrey Darville, PhD, APRN, BREATHE TTS program director and associate professor in the UK College of Nursing. “Our goal is to increase the number of tobacco dependence treatment providers in Kentucky and beyond.”

The BREATHE TTS course, the first offered completely online, teaches guidelines developed by the Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence. The course includes 27 hours of self-paced training, assignments and evaluation. After finishing the course, participants earn a training certificate, the first step in obtaining TTS certification.

Kentucky has one of the highest adult smoking rates in the nation and an urgent need to increase the number of trained health professionals in tobacco treatment. The program was launched in February 2017 and has provided training to 22 professionals, which triples the number of trained TTS individuals in Kentucky. Participants are from a variety of healthcare disciplines and work in inpatient, outpatient, community and public health settings.

“The knowledge I gained from the BREATHE TTS program has enabled me to offer so much more support and guidance to my patients on a daily basis,” said Teresa Cumpton, a TTS training participant and a pulmonary educator at Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital in Ashland, Ky.

UK Markey Cancer Center affiliate sites also are engaged in training tobacco treatment specialists, said Dr. Timothy Mullett, medical director of the Markey Affiliate Network.

“They are passionate about cancer control, and having this accredited tobacco treatment specialist training program at UK is an important milestone for Markey Cancer Center and UK HealthCare,” he said.


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Tobacco free

We’re tobacco-free. Here’s why.

At UK HealthCare, we are committed to improving the health and well-being of all Kentuckians. As part of that mission, all healthcare sites and UK campus locations – inside and outside as well as parking areas – prohibit the use of tobacco products (cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, snuff, snus, water pipes, pipes, etc.).

Why is UK HealthCare tobacco-free?

  • Simply put, tobacco use takes a significant toll on a person’s overall health. It increases risk for heart disease, stroke and lung cancer, and can cause damage to nearly every organ in the body.
  • Tobacco smoke can make breathing harder for others with asthma or other lung problems.
  • Quitting tobacco has a wide array of health benefits – from a healthier heart and lungs to whiter teeth and fewer wrinkles.
  • Seeing others use tobacco can trigger strong urges in those who are trying to quit.

Be a quitter!

We’re here to help. In fact, many of our patients, visitors and employees have stopped or are trying to stop using tobacco.

You can purchase nicotine replacement gum at the Kentucky Clinic Pharmacy, UK Chandler Hospital Gift Shop and University Health Pharmacy at a very low cost. Tobacco-cessation coaching is also available to our employees at no cost.

For more information to help you or someone you know quit, check out our tips for conquering a tobacco addiction.

Thank you for keeping UK tobacco-free.


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e-cigarettes are not safe

What you might not know about e-cigarettes

Think e-cigarettes are better for you than other tobacco products? You may want to think again.

Although it is true that vapor from an e-cigarette does not contain the toxins and tar that tobacco smoke contains, it does contain nicotine, one of the most addictive known substances and one that’s harmful to your health, too. Here’s why you should think twice before trying e-cigarettes.

E-cigs won’t help you quit

Despite what you might have heard, e-cigarettes are addictive because they contain nicotine, just like other tobacco products.

Nicotine exposure can cause lasting harm to the brain and promote sustained use.

E-cigarettes are not safe during pregnancy

E-cigarettes and other electronic smoking products, like vapes, contain nicotine, which can cause birth defects and long-term health consequences for the developing brain and body of an unborn child.

They’re more appealing to non-smokers

One of the biggest fears with e-cigarettes is that their flavorings will attract non-smokers, particularly teenagers, and lead to a lifelong nicotine addiction. The younger a person is when they are exposed to nicotine, the harder it is for them to quit later in life.

The bottom line is it’s better not to smoke at all. If you’re a smoker trying to quit, be sure to seek out support to help you along the way. See our list of resources below. And if you’re a non-smoker, remember, that first e-cigarette could lead to a lifetime of trying to quit.


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smoking heart

When you use tobacco, your heart takes a beating

We’ve all heard the statistics – smoking and tobacco use greatly increase your risk of heart disease. But what, exactly, does tobacco do to your heart?

How tobacco hurts your heart

  • Nicotine, the addictive component in tobacco, speeds up the pulse rate and raises blood pressure making the heart work harder.
  • Smoking decreases HDL (good) cholesterol, increases triglyceride levels and damages the lining in blood vessels.
  • Tobacco smoke contains high levels of carbon monoxide, depriving the heart and other vital organs of the oxygen it needs.
  • Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes because it increases the risk of high blood pressure leading to heart disease and stroke.
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke also has a negative effect on cardiovascular health. Nonsmokers’ bodies tend to react more dramatically to tobacco exposure than do smokers’ bodies.

Why quitting is worth it

Quitting has benefits you’ll start to notice right away. For example:

  • Within 24 hours after your last cigarette or tobacco use, blood pressure and pulse rate drop to normal and heart attack risk starts to drop.
  • Within a few days or weeks, exercise endurance and heart functioning improve, and HDL (good) cholesterol increases.
  • Within a year, the risk for most cardiovascular diseases will be cut in half.

Quitting is tough

We know that quitting is easier said than done, and many ex-smokers try three or more times to quit before they succeed. The good news is there are plenty of resources out there to help you quit. Ask your doctor to suggest the best quitting aid for you and check out our tips for finally conquering your smoking addiction.


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We know that quitting smoking isn’t easy, so we’ve put together a list of resources that can help you or someone you know start on the path toward success.

Be a quitter! Tips for finally conquering your smoking addiction

If you’re a smoker, you probably already know it’s not a healthy habit. The benefits of not smoking are vast, but the bottom line is this: if you stop smoking now, you’ll have a better quality of life and very likely have more years to live it.

We know that quitting smoking isn’t easy, but we’re here to help. We’ve put together a list of tips and resources that can help you or someone you know start on the path toward success. Check them out and pass them along to family and friends.

  • Learn about smoking-cessation aids. Quitting cold turkey isn’t the best option for everyone, and aids like nicotine patches, nicotine gum and medicines for withdrawal symptoms can help make quitting easier. At UK HealthCare, low-cost nicotine replacement products are available in our pharmacies and gift shops.
  • Make it through the hardest part. It’s often said that if you can make it through your first week of not smoking, when withdrawal symptoms are at their worst, you’ll be on your way to success. From establishing new morning routines and daily habits to exercising more, little lifestyle changes can help you get through the toughest part of your journey.
  • Consider your triggers. Different triggers make different people reach for a cigarette. Plan ahead for the things that cause you to smoke and come up with an alternative plan. Do you smoke during work breaks? Try taking a walk instead. Find a replacement, keep your hands busy, chew gum or take yourself to locations where smoking isn’t allowed.
  • Avoid smoke at all costs. Ask people not to smoke around you, and avoid those who do.
  • Don’t ignore your emotions. Quitting is stressful, and you’ll need to find ways of dealing with your feelings that don’t include cigarettes. Find someone to talk to about your feelings. Take slow, deep breaths, exercise or listen to calming music.
  • Realize that a relapse isn’t the end of the world. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a cigarette after quitting. Relapse is a common occurrence and nothing to be ashamed of. Understanding why you chose to smoke is often the key to preventing it from happening again. Treat a relapse like an emergency: Figure out what caused it, and come up with strategies to keep it from happening again.
  • Remind yourself why you’re quitting. Consider writing all your reasons on a piece of paper and keeping it in your purse or wallet. “My kids. My husband. My health. Feeling more energetic. Looking younger. Keeping my breath fresh …” List as many reasons as you can think of, then pull the card out when you’re craving a cigarette to remind yourself of your motivation.

From a healthier heart and lungs to whiter teeth and fewer wrinkles, you’ll reap major health benefits when you stop smoking.


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