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Team up with your doctor against smoking: 4 tips for getting the conversation started

It’s common knowledge that smoking is bad for your health. In fact, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death, illness and disability in the United States.

However, this knowledge often isn’t enough to move people to quit or keep them from starting to smoke in the first place. The addictiveness of nicotine is brutal, and, on top of that, the social stigma of smoking often silences the voices of smokers from reaching out for help.

As you can see, the odds are really stacked up against smokers, but the good news is that the barriers break down when those who are trying to quit have the support of others. And one of those people should be your doctor. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, getting help from a physician more than doubles the chances of quitting successfully.

“Trying to quit can be a long and tough process,” said Dr. Thomas Dobosz, a physician with Augusta University Internal Medicine. “Although it may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, with the right tools and support, your chance of remaining abstinent increases significantly. Your primary care physician will help you to achieve your goal by identifying any barriers that may exist to quitting, tailoring a treatment plan that works for you and assisting in relapse prevention along the way.”

The first challenge is getting past the social stigma so you can get help by prioritizing your health care needs above your concern for what others think of you. While it’s natural to feel uncomfortable telling your doctor that you smoke, we want you to succeed, so here are some tips:

  • Make the appointment today to talk to your doctor about your desire to quit smoking – and keep it! Don’t put off making an appointment and say you’ll do it later. Make yourself and your health your No. 1 priority.
  • Be prepared to talk about your smoking history and patterns – for instance, how much you smoke, your reasons for smoking and the triggers that prompt you to smoke and your previous attempts to quit. This will help you and your doctor to make the best plan for you.
  • Educate and prepare yourself. Doing your own research on quitting smoking and the various tools available to assist you can help you to ask informed questions and make the most of your time with your doctor.
  • Take notes at your appointment. You might not be able to remember all the information your doctor tells you when you get home, like names of medications and such.

“As a primary care physician, I take great pride and responsibility in helping my patients manage the health of their whole body,” Dobosz said. “Smoking affects the whole you, so we want nothing more than to help you beat the addiction so you can live a longer, healthier life.”

Rest assured that your doctor is ready to be your ally by exploring the many options for quitting and helping you to find the right type of solution that fit you and your unique situation. No one knows your personal health history like your physician does, so he or she is more equipped to help you live a longer, healthier life. And quitting smoking is the best way to do that.

Get the conversation started

To find a doctor or schedule an appointment at Augusta University Health, visit augustahealth.org, or call 706-721-2273 (CARE).

For more information on quitting smoking, visit augusta.edu/cancer/tobaccofree, or call 706-721-0456.

About the author

Augusta University Health

Augusta University Health

Based in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta University Health is a world-class health care network, offering the most comprehensive primary, specialty and subspecialty care in the region. Augusta University Health provides skilled, compassionate care to its patients, conducts leading-edge clinical research and fosters the medical education and training of tomorrow’s health care practitioners. Augusta University Health is a not-for-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations associated with Augusta University.

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