Doctor's Notes


Leave a comment

How to Have a Happy Holiday Without Stress or Smoke

shutterstock_176410184

Holidays are supposed to be an enjoyable time when family and friends gather together with food and drinks, but it can also be stressful as people rush from place to place. A cigarette can sound like the perfect way to de-stress, especially during a busy holiday season, but cessation coaches at the Asian Smokers’ Quitline have tips and encouragement for people attempting to quit, or want to stay quit through the season.

“Holidays are fun but they can also be stressful, so it’s important to be aware of triggers and to get extra support,” said Dr. Caroline Chen, project manager of the Asian Smokers’ Quitline. “Let family and friends know that you’re trying to quit, and ask for their support in helping you lead a healthier life.”

Here are some other general tips from cessation coaches on ways to avoid triggers and stay quit during the holidays:

  1. In the midst of holiday busyness, get adequate rest.
  2. Avoid spicy and sugary foods, and alcohol. Holidays are often all about the eating and feasting, but avoid foods that will make you crave cigarettes even more. Eat fruit or less sugary dessert on the menu. As for alcohol, put it away, and instead, reach for a sugar-free seltzer, club soda, or apple cider.
  3. If weather allows, go for a walk. To prevent taking up a new bad habit such as eating whatever you can find to avoid having a cigarette, stay active and exercise.
  4. Spend time with non-smokers. If all your friends are smokers, it may be time to make some new friends. Keep some distance from smokers, and create a community of people who are ex-smokers or non-smokers to help you keep busy and away from smoking.
  5. Having a supportive community is important on this journey. Call the Quitline! Call the Asian Smokers’ Quitline, a free nationwide telephone program for Chinese-, Korean-, and Vietnamese-speakers who want to quit. When you call, a friendly staff person will offer various services: self-help materials, a referral list of other programs, one-on-one counseling over the phone, and a free two-week starter kit of nicotine patches.
  6. Lastly, don’t give up on quitting. You can do it!

About the Asian Smokers’ Quitline:

The Asia Smokers’ Quitline (ASQ) provides FREE, accessible, evidence-based smoking cessation services in Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese to Asian communities in the U.S. ASQ has been shown to double their chances of quitting successfully. Services are provided by native speakers trained in smoking cessation. Eligible callers receive a free two-week starter kit of nicotine patches.

Health care providers and others in the community are encouraged to refer Asian language speaking smokers to ASQ. To learn more about referring, email asq@ucsd.edu or see the web referral link at www.asiansmokersquitline.org. Smokers can also call ASQ directly or enroll themselves online at www.asq-chinese.org, www.asq-korean.org, or www.asq-viet.org.

ASQ is funded by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and has served over 8,000 callers since it was established in 2012.

ASQ is open Monday through Friday, 7am to 9pm Pacific Time

Asian Smokers’ Quitline
1-800-838-8917 (Chinese)
1-800-556-5564 (Korean)
1-800-778-8440 (Vietnamese)

To learn more about ASQ (in English), visit: www.asiansmokersquitline.org.

At the Health Center, we can help patients quit or cut back on smoking.

Charles B. Wang Community Health Center
(212) 966-0461

This post was created by the Asian Smokers’ Quitline (ASQ) of University of California, San Diego


Leave a comment

Smoking Cessation Medications

2013_11_22_78012

Written by Michelle Chen

At the Health Center, we see many patients who believe willpower is the key to quitting smoking. However, it often takes more than motivation to quit successfully. When you smoke, your body becomes addicted to nicotine, a substance found in cigarettes and other tobacco products. Nicotine can make you feel good, but leaves you wanting more. You may feel irritable, anxious, or depressed when you do not smoke for a period of time. These withdrawal symptoms make quitting hard.

Fortunately, there are safe and effective medications to help you manage withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is one of them. It gives you a small dose of nicotine without 7,000 of the toxic chemicals that the typical cigarette has. NRT is available as patches, gum, lozenges, an inhaler, and nasal spray. There are also pills (Zyban® and Chantix®) that you can take to fight discomfort and help you quit.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

Method Availability Description
Nicotine Patches Over-the-Counter The nicotine patch is placed on the skin and gives users a small and steady amount of nicotine.
Nicotine Gum Over-the-Counter Nicotine gum is chewed to release nicotine. The user chews the gum until it produces a tingling feeling, and then places it between their gums and cheek.
Nicotine Lozenges Over-the-Counter Nicotine lozenges look like hard candy and are placed in the mouth. The nicotine lozenge releases nicotine as it slowly dissolves in the mouth.
Nicotine Inhaler Prescription A nicotine inhaler is a cartridge attached to a mouthpiece. Inhaling through the mouthpiece gives the user a specific amount of nicotine.
Nicotine Nasal Spray Prescription Nicotine nasal spray is a pump bottle containing nicotine, which is put into the nose and sprayed.

Other Medications

Method Availability Description
Bupropion (Zyban®) Prescription Bupropion helps reduce nicotine withdrawal and the urge to smoke. Bupropion can be used safely in combination with NRT.
Varenicline (Chantix®) Prescription Varenicline helps to reduce nicotine withdrawal and the urge to smoke. It also blocks the effects of nicotine from cigarettes.

Speak to your doctor to learn if smoking cessation medication is right for you. Some smokers may need to use smoking cessation medication for 3 to 6 months before their withdrawal symptoms end. Most insurance companies will cover the cost of prescription drugs.

We know quitting can be hard, but your health improves the moment you stop. Just one day without smoking can lower your blood pressure and your risk for heart attack. Your loved ones will be thankful for it, too. Are you ready to take the next steps, but don’t know where to begin? Check out our posts for reasons to quit and more ways to handle cravings, and learn about secondhand smoke.

At the Health Center, we can help patients quit or cut back on smoking.

You can also get free patches and help from:

This article is made possible with funding from the RCHN Community Health Foundation. Medication information is from CDC.

Michelle Chen is a Health Educator at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. She has a B.A. in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies from Barnard College. She is interested in the intersection of public health and Asian American activism.


Leave a comment

Honor Your Heart by Quitting Smoking

ThinkstockPhotos-166468551

Written by Michelle Chen

Quitting smoking is tough, and for many, takes more than one try. It may be one of the hardest things to do, but it will be one of the best decisions of your life. In addition to saving thousands of dollars each year, you will protect your family from cancer-causing toxins and live a longer and healthier life. Your heart will benefit from the relief—your risk for heart attack and heart disease will go down when you quit. After one year, your risk for heart disease will be half that of a continuing smoker’s. Over time, it will be that of a non-smoker’s. For American Heart Month, we encourage you to kick the butt for better heart health.

7 Ways to Make Quitting Smoking Easier

  1. Prepare yourself. Have support—from family, friends, a counselor or provider, or an online program—ready by your quit date.
  1. Create new habits. If certain places and situations tempt you to smoke, come up with new routines. Instead of joining your coworkers for a smoke break, tell them you are quitting and take a walk instead.
  1. Use medications. Talk with a counselor or provider about nicotine patches and other medications that can reduce cravings. Many are covered by insurance.
  1. Stay away from that cigarette! There is no such thing as having ‘just one.’ The first puff can make you start back up.
  1. Find a quit buddy. Ask a friend or coworker who smokes to quit with you. Support each other through the quitting process.
  1. Reward yourself. Use the money you have saved from quitting for a movie night or a dinner with your family. Marking milestones can improve spirits for all.
  1. Be kind to yourself. If you start smoking again, don’t be discouraged. You have not failed—you have learned about the triggers and situations that make you smoke. It takes a few tries for most people to quit for good.

We know quitting can be hard, but your health improves the moment you stop. Your loved ones will be thankful for it, too. Are you ready to take the next steps, but don’t know where to begin? Check out more tips and reasons to quit, and learn more about secondhand smoke.

At the Health Center, we can help patients quit or cut back on smoking:

You can also get free patches and help from:

This article is made possible with funding from the RCHN Community Health Foundation and adapted from NYCDOHMH’s Health Bulletin.

Michelle Chen is a Health Educator at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. She has a B.A. in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies from Barnard College. She is interested in the intersection of public health and Asian American activism.


1 Comment

Have a Smoke-Free Home

121601843

Written by Michelle Chen

We all need clean air to live healthy lives. This includes the air inside your home, not just what you breathe in outside. To protect your and your family’s health, don’t smoke at home. Secondhand smoke, which comes from cigarettes and the air smokers breathe out, is toxic. It has thousands of deadly chemicals, including ones that cause cancer. Non-smokers who live with secondhand smoke are more likely to get sick or die from serious illness such as cancer and heart disease. Secondhand smoke is especially bad for children. At the Health Center, we see kids with family members who smoke that come in with asthma and ear infections.

Secondhand smoke is a special problem in big cities like New York, where many people live in apartments. Much of the air inside a building is shared. Smoke in one unit can move through a whole building and into other units, even if they are far apart. Smoke can get trapped almost everywhere, including walls, floors, doors, and furniture. It can also stay on your clothes and hair. No fan, room spray, or open window can get rid of lingering smoke. Just because you can’t see it or smell it doesn’t mean it’s not there!

Make your whole home smoke-free (not just a few rooms). Moving to another room or opening a window does NOT protect your loved ones from the smoke. Don’t just stop at your home – make your car smoke-free, too. Here are some tips:

  • Get rid of ashtrays, lighters, and matches.
  • Tell your friends and family that you don’t allow smoking in your home.
  • Have gum or fruit as an alternative to smoking.
  • Be polite but firm. If people must smoke, insist that they do it outside.

We know quitting can be hard, but your health improves the moment you stop. Your loved ones will be thankful for it, too. Are you ready to take the next steps, but don’t know where to begin? Check out our posts on tips and why you should quit.

At the Health Center, we can help patients quit or cut back on smoking:

You can also get free patches and help from:

This post is made possible with funding from the RCHN Community Health Foundation and adapted from NYCDOHMH’s Health Bulletin.

Michelle Chen is a Health Educator at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. She has a B.A. in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies from Barnard College. She is interested in the intersection of public health and Asian American activism.


2 Comments

Make Quitting Smoking Your New Year’s Resolution

Smoking1

Written by Michelle Chen

Every year, people around the world make New Year’s resolutions—to be more active, spend more time with family, eat healthier, and many more. If you are one of the 7 out of 10 U.S. smokers who want to quit smoking, now is the perfect time. 2016 is just around the corner!

7 Reasons to Quit Smoking

  1. Live a healthier and longer life. Smoking can cause heart disease, stroke, diabetes, blindness, and many types of cancer. Smokers killed by tobacco die about 14 years sooner than non-smokers.
  1. Be free of addiction. The nicotine found in tobacco is highly addictive and what makes it so hard to quit. Medication can help you overcome addiction—control it before it controls you.
  1. Improve your family’s health. Secondhand smoke kills. Protect your children, family, and non-smokers around you. Smoke can linger in clothes and furniture and harm children and pets that touch them.
  1. Save money. Think of all the money you could save if you quit. Put that money toward things you need and want, like groceries or taking a family trip.
  1. Feel better. You will breathe easier, have more energy, and enjoy life longer.
  1. Quality of life. Your clothes and home won’t stink. Food will taste better.
  1. Have a healthy baby. Secondhand smoke can cause low birth weight. Babies of women who smoke are more likely to be sick or die and to be born too small or too soon.

We know quitting can be hard, but your health improves the moment you stop. Your loved ones will be thankful for it, too. Are you ready to take the next steps, but don’t know where to begin? Check out our Quit Smoking Today post for tips.

At the Health Center, we can help patients quit or cut back on smoking:

You can also get free patches and help from:

This article is made possible with funding from the RCHN Community Health Foundation and adapted from NYCDOHMH’s Health Bulletin.

Michelle Chen is a Health Educator at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. She has a B.A. in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies from Barnard College. She is interested in the intersection of public health and Asian American activism.


Leave a comment

Quitting Smoking is Hard, But You Can Do It!

Stop smoking

Written by Michelle Chen

At the hospital, 60-year-old Mr. Fong lays in bed. He is surrounded by family, but feels great pain from advanced lung cancer. His bones ache and he has little energy. He has no appetite to eat the food his grandchildren have brought. Short of breath, he can barely speak. Just from the look on his wife’s face, he regrets all the years he smoked.

There’s no question about it: smoking increases your chance of getting lung cancer. It not only hurts your lungs but also your heart, eyes, bones, and stomach. You put yourself at risk for serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, and other cancers. When you smoke, you also harm your loved ones. Over time, the toxic fumes left in the air can cause cancer and asthma for those around you. Smoking in another room or by a window is not enough. Smoke can stay in hair, clothes, and even furniture. Children are especially prone to getting sick from secondhand smoke.

This Lung Cancer Awareness Month, take the time to learn about the risks of smoking and what you can do to stop lung cancer in its tracks. No matter how old you are or how long you’ve smoked, quitting now is a big step towards better health. Here’s what you can do:

  • Decide why you want to quit. People quit for many reasons—to improve their health, save money, or protect their family’s health. Remind yourself every day why you’re quitting.
  • Pick a date to quit so you can commit. Avoid a day that may be stressful and when you may feel tempted to smoke. Get rid of cigarettes, ashtrays, and lighters by this day. If you plan to use medication, have it before your quit date.
  • Come up with ways to cope. You may feel irritable, tired, or anxious when you stop smoking. Cope with these feelings by chewing gum or talking to a friend. Avoid people or places that might tempt you to smoke.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seek support from your family, friends, coworkers, and quitlines. Talk with a counselor or provider about medication options.

At the Health Center, we can help patients quit or cut back on smoking:

You can also get free patches and help from:

Nearly one in four Chinese and Asian American men in New York City currently smokes. To address this serious health issue, the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, Chinese American Medical Society, Chinese American Independent Practice Association, Asian Americans for Equality and NYU Langone Medical Center are working together to educate the community about the dangers of smoking and to help smokers quit. This project is made possible with funding from the RCHN Community Health Foundation. Stay tuned for more tips and resources on quitting.

Michelle Chen is a Health Educator at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. She has a B.A. in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies from Barnard College. She is interested in the intersection of public health and Asian American activism.