MedWatch- It’s time to kick the smoking habit - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

MedWatch- It’s time to kick the smoking habit

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LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- “Time to kick the smoking habit Oklahoma” -- That's what state health officials want us to know as they launched their "OK to quit" campaign. Tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death in our state and in the country. Quitting isn't easy, but doctors say you don't have to do it alone.

"Nicotine is such an addictive substance." Even more so than cocaine, according to Dr. Richard Brittingham.

A scary truth and the reason why it's truly so hard to quit.

"The patient literally is enslaved by his own brain and the effect nicotine has on the brain."

But it's not the nicotine in cigarettes that's what's so bad for you.

"All the stuff that goes into the cigarette. When it gets burned and vaporized and gets into your lungs, that's where the problems lie."

The first step to quitting is to decide that you truly do want to quit, and the second is to ask for help. Dr. Brittingham says it's rare for someone to just quit cold turkey. It takes most people 10 to 15 times to quit smoking before they actually succeed.

"Ask your doctor, what can you do to help me quit smoking. Asking for help or getting help in one form or another is good way to enhance your chances of successfully quitting smoking."

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends that people who have smoked for more than 30 pack years who are between the ages of 55 and 77, get screened for lung cancer. Dr. Brittingham says CCMH has a screening program, and he's seen great success with it.

"In my practice alone, and I'm just one physician in this town, and in my practice, we found 10 maybe 12 stage 1 lung cancer. All of whom have already had surgery and every single one of them was going to live, they're not going to die from cancer. There's really no reason why someone shouldn't quit other than they just don't want to quit. And that's sad because it's such a significant contributing factor to early death among Americans."

If you're looking to quit smoking, talk with your doctor, or call 1-800-quit-now. The tobacco helpline can provide the tools and support you need to quit tobacco your own way.

Comanche County Memorial Hospital is currently offering free or low-cost CT scans for lung cancer. To find out if you qualify, you can call 580-536-2121 or talk with your doctor about your screening options.

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