Tobacco Use Screenings and Cessation Programs

Tobacco usage, such as smoking cigarettes, can have many detrimental effects on the human body. Smoking is a leading cause for the development of a large variety of diseases, so quitting smoking is one of the most important things that you can do to drastically improve your health.

Tobacco use screenings and cessation (counseling for quitting) programs are a big component of disease prevention measures in health care. In most cases, the screenings and programs are completely covered by insurance, and they can make a big difference in your ability to quit smoking and get healthier.

Most tobacco use screenings are conducted as part of a routine health check-up if deemed necessary by your physician. The smoking cessation programs are generally advised by your primary care physician as well. If you have concerns about your tobacco usage, you should speak to your doctor about what cessation programs are available for you.

Why Quitting Smoking is Important

Smoking cigarettes and using tobacco is associated with a very high risk of developing a chronic disease. Tobacco use can also cause other immediate health problems as well. Smoking affects nearly every part of your body in a negative way, but because of how addictive it is, many people continue smoking even after developing serious health issues. Quitting smoking can make a huge difference in your overall health by helping you to have increased energy and preventing the onset of many different diseases.

Smoking causes the following health conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • Different types of cancers
  • Lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Stroke
  • Pregnancy problems
  • Vision problems
  • Gum disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Type 2 diabetes

If you or someone you love is addicted to smoking, there are ways to get assistance with quitting. Speak to your physician about the various options including tobacco cessation programs.

Secondhand Smoke

It is a common misconception that smoking cigarettes is only harmful to the smoker. This is proven to be untrue because the secondhand smoke that is produced when you smoke a cigarette is very harmful for anyone inhaling it. Secondhand smoke is responsible for the development of many diseases, including lung disease, lung cancer, heart disease and strokes. Babies and children who regularly breathe in secondhand smoke may experience even more health problems including bronchitis, ear infections, severe asthma attacks, pneumonia, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Tobacco Screening

In some cases, tobacco screening tests may be completed. Oftentimes they are used by employers in order to determine whether or not a current or potential employee uses tobacco products. In other cases, a tobacco screening is done before you can apply for some health or life insurance policies, or before certain surgeries can be performed. Also, your primary care physician may perform a tobacco screening to assess whether or not you have been smoking or using other tobacco products, especially if he or she suspects that you may have overdosed on nicotine.

The tobacco screening generally tests for a substance called cotinine, which is a product created in your body after nicotine is absorbed. This is because cotinine stays in the body for a longer period of time than nicotine, so it is often easier to detect. There are a few different ways that tobacco screening can be performed: either with a saliva test or hair test. A saliva test is generally the most sensitive way to detect cotinine, although hair testing can be very reliable for determining long-term tobacco usage and it can be accurate for as long as three months after you quit using tobacco products.

Tobacco Cessation Interventions

In an effort to reduce the number of people who develop diseases from smoking, tobacco cessation interventions are available. These interventions or counseling sessions are when you speak with either a health care provider or a counselor about your tobacco usage. He or she can then assist you with coming up with a plan for how you can stop smoking. In some cases, the sessions are just one-on-one with your health care provider or a counselor, and in other cases you may attend a group session with other people looking to quit using tobacco products as well. In either situation, it is important to be completely honest and participate as much as possible.

During your tobacco cessation journey, you may notice that certain things cause you to have an increased craving to smoke, such as:

  • Being bored.
  • Talking on the phone.
  • Being stressed.
  • Not being able to sleep.
  • Drinking coffee.
  • Drinking alcohol.

These are commonly referred to as “triggers” because they trigger you to want to smoke. When you attend smoking cessation counseling/interventions, you can learn strategies for how to cope with or avoid whatever it is that triggers you to smoke. For example, if you frequently smoke when you drink a cup of coffee in the morning, your counselor or health care provider may give you a tip like going to get your coffee in a restaurant that does not allow smoking so you will not be tempted. He or she will likely have many different tips that could greatly help you in your plan to cut out cigarettes.

The nicotine found in cigarettes and other tobacco products is extremely addictive and it causes you to crave smoking. Because of how highly addictive smoking is, quitting is not always easy. You will likely face nicotine withdrawals, which are the symptoms you experience when you go without nicotine for a certain period of time. These withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Intense cravings for nicotine.
  • Sweating.
  • Nausea.
  • Headaches.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Anxiety.
  • Difficulty sleeping.

In the beginning, you may experience many uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, but after you ignore them for a period of time, they will begin to disappear. Although quitting your use of tobacco products such as cigarettes is not easy, quitting is certainly possible especially if you have help. Tobacco cessation interventions or counseling sessions can provide you with the extra support you need to overcome your addiction so that you can avoid developing diseases and improve your personal health.

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