[Skip to Content]

Tobacco or Extended Life?

By on January 1, 2018
cigs

If You Really Want to Quit, Read This

BY: DR. JOHN McELLIGOTT, DR. JOHN’S MEDICAL SOLUTIONS

Truckers’ lifestyles set them up for addiction to tobacco products. The day-to-day needs to stay alert and be on time are unrelenting. You may feel that smoking and/or dipping are stimulants that help you through your day, but you also have to realize that long term, they kill more truckers than any other cause. If you smoke and/or dip, ask yourself this simple question:

“Do I want better health, or do I want to risk an often-lingering, slow death with devastating effects on my family?” 

If your answer is, “YES!” to having better health, read on. It’s important to understand that tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States. It causes many different cancers, chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis, heart disease, and pregnancy-related problems.

The process starts with inflammation of the body part(s) regularly exposed. Dipping is one of the leading causes of head and neck cancer. Esophageal cancer is also related, but occurs at a lower rate. And everyone knows that smoking causes lung cancer. In all cases, research data shows that smoking and dipping are incredibly expensive in addition to being deadly and disfiguring. Since smokers have a higher risk of suicide than non-smokers, smoking cessation can also be vital to suicide-prevention programs.

Doctor Consult Suggested

While legal, a common drug intended to help smokers quit has been linked with an increased risk of suicide. Great care must be exercised when treating truck drivers, since intense doctor-to-patient monitoring is required, and drivers lack easy access to regular medical care. Your best interests are served by developing a close relationship with your prescribing physician to minimize any risks associated with effective, but powerful medications. Dr. John’s Medical Solutions strives to maintain this close contact, particularly when phone calls, texting and other digital messaging are the best options available.

A great replacement product for cigarettes and dipping called Grinds (getgrinds.com) helps by providing caffeine, as well as the oral stimulation smokers and dippers are accustomed to. You should also be aware of the smoking cessation program started by the St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund. The Rigs without Cigs program, using QuitKey (quitkey.com), helps drivers gradually cut back on tobacco usage until they eventually quit. This program also uses social support and quarterly conference calls with me. Register at: TruckersFund.org/healthwellness/registration.

Serious Consequences

Smoking and/or dipping take their toll on physical, mental, and financial resources. The latter can be as high as $20,000 a year, and addicted individuals can spend a million dollars or more in their lifetimes. Timed to coincide with the CDC’s Tobacco Awareness Week, a new state-by-state analysis from WalletHub details the lifelong financial costs of an individual’s smoking habit. In my experience, the cost of tobacco seems to help reduce daily usage, but doesn’t have much effect on the death rate.

On the medical side, the cost is astronomical and impacts drivers, their families and all citizens of this great country. According to the American Lung Association, tobacco kills nearly half a million Americans annually and costs the nation $333 billion per year in healthcare expenses and lost productivity.

Habit-Kicking Tips

Now that you’ve been reminded about the physical and financial consequences associated with tobacco, how can you quit? Check out BecomeAnex.org/prepare-to-quit.php. In addition, the following tips may help tobacco users who want to kick the habit:

  • Set definite goals.
  • Pick a quit date, and tell friends and family members of your plans.
  • Prioritize all of your reasons for quitting and write them down.
  • Ask other people for their understanding and support.
  • Ask friends and family members who use tobacco products to consider quitting at the same time.
  • Change your surroundings.
  • Get rid of cigarettes and ashtrays in your truck, car and home.
  • Stay away from the smell of tobacco smoke.
  • Think about past attempts to quit. Try to figure out what worked and what didn’t.
  • Stop smoking/dipping completely on the quit date. Don’t just cut back.
  • People who try to smoke fewer cigarettes usually wind up smoking the same amount again soon.
  • Keep a list of slips and near-slips. Look for patterns. Try to figure out what caused the slips and how to avoid them in the future.
  • Be ready for short-term symptoms. Quitting smoking can lead to a dry mouth, cough, scratchy throat, and feelings of edginess.
  • Get professional help, if needed. A doctor, dentist, therapist, or nurse may be a good source of advice and support.

Next Steps

Look for a smoking-cessation program that offers at least four to seven sessions over a period of at least two weeks. Friends and family members can also provide support. Self-help books and telehealth can be very effective for truckers on the go.

Using the nicotine patch and/or gum have worked for many, and are worth a try. New products like Grinds (getgrinds.com) have shown promise and are non-addictive.

Personal counseling and/or a smoking-cessation program can help you learn how to live your life as a nonsmoker. Studies have shown that the more counseling people receive, the better their chances of success.

Another resource to help support you in your smoking-cessation efforts is Carolyn O’Byrne’s Life Coach Service (LifeCoachService.net). To learn more about Dr. John’s Medical Solutions go to docjmd.com

About Road King

For the professional Driver

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *