Be a Fighter and Put Down the Lighter

Smoking and inhaled secondhand smoke harms nearly every organ of the body which can lead to many diseases. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits for you and your loved ones. Nivano Physicians, Our doctors and CM Care Coordinators are here to help you quit. 

Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. One in five deaths are smoking related. Smoking causes more deaths each year than the following causes combined: 

  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Illegal drug use
  • Alcohol use
  • Motor vehicle injuries
  • Firearm-related incidents

No matter your age and length of smoking, quitting at any time improves your health. After quitting, you are likely to add years to your life, breathe easier and have much more energy.  More benefits to quitting include the following: 

  • Saving money
  • Lowering your risk of cancerheart attackstroke, lung disease and death
  • Having better blood circulation
  • Improvement of your sense of taste and smell
  • Smelling like smoke
  • Setting a healthy example for your children and grandchildren

So how do you stop?  Don’t do it cold turkey or do it alone. Develop a plan and seek help. Former smokers say the first step to quitting successfully is to make a firm decision to quit and pick a definite date to stop. Set a definite plan that includes how to deal with situations that trigger an urge to smoke and what you will do to help cope with the cravings that accompany nicotine addiction. 

Many people try to stop multiple times before they quit smoking for good. If you slip and have a cigarette, you are not a failure. You can try again and be successful. 

Try to take advantage of the free quit smoking hotlines offered either by national or local state agencies. These hotlines have trained coaches who can work with you, create a quit plan and provide free educational materials.

In California, the California Smokers’ Helpline is a free stop smoking program that has experiences quit smoking coaches and offers many free tools to help you reach your goal.                

The tools include:

The Quit Smoking Hotlines offer a wealth of free services and information such as: 

  1. You get help to stop smoking and it is free with no judgment:
  2. The Quit coaches help you create a plan that will be your plan and one that you have input in so it can work for you; 
  3. They will give you tips on how to deal with cravings and withdrawal;
  4. How to get the right help from your family and friends; 
  5. Direct you to the right websites, apps, and texting programs to help you reach your goals.
  6. Discuss the use of a quit-smoking medication and how to use it.   

The best reason of all to use a Quit line is that you’re more likely to quit and stay quit! 

The National numbers are:

  • 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
  • 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569) (en Español)

Call the California Hotline 1.800.No.Butts or visit their website for finding resources in your county.

The No-BUTTS website is: https://www.nobutts.org/county-listing

Medi-Cal members can also get quitting aids from your local pharmacy. First, see your doctor and ask about getting a prescription for quitting medication. Five quitting aids that are on the Medi-Cal Contract Drug List include the following:

  • NicoDerm CQ® patches release a steady stream of nicotine into your body through your skin. They make quitting easier by weaning you off nicotine slowly. Prescriptions are available for 14 weeks.
  • Nicorette© gum when chewed right releases nicotine, which is then absorbed through the lining of the mouth. It helps reduce withdrawal symptoms such as cravings. Prescriptions are available for 14 weeks.
  • Nicorette© lozenges are placed in the mouth like hard candy and releases nicotine through the lining of the mouth as it slowly dissolves. It helps reduce withdrawal symptoms such as cravings. Prescriptions are available for 14 weeks.
  • Zyban® is a form of the antidepressant Wellbutrin®. It is a pill that does not contain nicotine. It helps with changes in brain chemistry that may occur when you quit smoking. Start taking it 1-2 weeks before you quit. Prescriptions are available for 12 weeks.
  • Chantix® is another quitting aid that does not contain nicotine. It is a pill that reduces cravings for nicotine by blocking the pleasure of smoking. Start taking it a week before you quit. Prescriptions are available for 12 weeks.

If your prescription is for one of the products above, a pharmacist can fill it right away. You don’t need Medi-Cal pre-approval. You can receive two courses of treatment per year, with no waiting in between.

If you need help finding a doctor or getting to an appointment, please call the Nivano Physicians Case Management program at 916.407.2000 and request to speak with a care coordinator.  Our care coordinators can help you find a doctor, arrange for transportation if you need it or help find a translator if you do not speak English.