The three A tips: How to stop smoking

The three A tips: How to stop smoking

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How to effectively overcome tobacco addiction

It has long been known what the risks of smoking are, but the proportion of smokers in Germany is still relatively high. The desire to stop smoking is therefore one of the most common resolutions at the turn of the year. But quitting smoking is difficult for many. Outpatient and inpatient smoking cessation therapies can help here. A study is currently being prepared at the University Clinic in Freiburg to examine which form of weaning works better. However, the experts already have some tips on how to finally overcome tobacco addiction.

Although the harmful effects of smoking are undisputed, the permanent refraining from using the cigarette remains a difficult process for many smokers, which usually requires several attempts, according to the Freiburg University Hospital. The experts report extremely high relapse rates when trying to quit smoking without professional support. However, some basic tips can be helpful.

High risk of relapse

"Without professional help, the risk of relapse for heavy smokers is 97 percent," warns the oncologist Dr. Jens Leifert, who together with the psychologist Cornelia Schulz leads the prevention team at the Freiburg Tumor Center - CCCF of the Freiburg University Hospital. The successful way out of tobacco addiction consists of several stages. First of all, those affected should get detailed information, both about the consequences of smoking and about different methods of weaning, the expert advises.

Nicotine replacement soothes the craving

The acute craving for nicotine and the withdrawal symptoms can be alleviated according to Dr. Alleviates the effects of nicotine replacement, for example in the form of plasters, chewing gum or medication. For a permanent smoke stop, changes in behavior are essential. Behavior therapy courses under professional guidance would have proven to be very effective here. Outpatient courses for smoking cessation have been offered at the University Hospital Freiburg for many years, which usually consist of one to two hours of group therapy per week and run over a period of six to eight weeks.

Stationary smoking cessation

In-patient smoking cessation in the hospital, which only lasts nine days, is also possible. This enables more complex therapy modules and more intensive care than in outpatient therapy. Whether a nine-day inpatient therapy or six weeks of outpatient weaning are more effective in weaning will be examined in a comparative study at the University Hospital Freiburg, which starts this month. Regardless of this, however, the experts have some tips that can basically help you quit smoking.

The three A tips

"First of all, those affected should know that cravings in the period after quitting smoking are something completely normal and should not be interpreted as weak will," emphasizes Dr. Leifert. His advice: Actively deal with the situation! The three-A-tips also apply: postponement, distraction and evasion.

Postpone and distract

Postponing it makes sense, since the request is often very strong only in a short phase. "Take a deep breath, for example, ten times. Trust that the desire will become weaker and will then no longer be felt, ”said the experts. Distraction is about deliberately replacing smoking with other minor activities. You should think about this in advance. Take a little walk, for example, call friends or do some handicrafts, according to the Freiburg University Hospital. Activities that are fun and as incompatible as possible with smoking are best suited.

Avoid difficult situations

When dodging or getting away, it is important to avoid situations that could be too difficult, especially in the first days and weeks. For example, this could be the break with those colleagues who light a cigarette after eating. “Later, when you feel more secure overall, you will also master these situations,” the experts emphasize. Seeking professional help is advisable despite the three-A tips so that smoking cessation is permanent.

Inpatient or outpatient - which is better?

The extent to which inpatient or outpatient therapy is more suitable is being examined in the course of the study that has now started at the Freiburg University Hospital. "In a previous study, we saw that in-patient smoking cessation can be very successful," said Dr. In the new comparative study, both outpatient and inpatient smoking cessation therapy will be carried out on the basis of current guidelines and the latest scientific findings.

Much of the usual therapy costs are covered by the study and the participants only have to bear a small part of their own costs. The examination is carried out on adults who smoke at least ten cigarettes a day and are excluded from participation in people with increased alcohol or other drug use, pregnant women and people with mental or other serious medical illnesses. (fp)

Author and source information

Video: Quit smoking, electronic cigarettes and nicotine: Mayo Clinic Radio (January 2023).