Why vaping is dangerous and how to quit smoking

GEHA | August 23, 2019

asthma smoking cessation
E-cigarettes are marketed as a safer alternative than traditional cigarettes. This doesn’t make e-cigarette use a healthy activity. E-cigs still contain nicotine and cancer-causing agents found in traditional smoking devices.

E-cigarettes are marketed as a safer alternative than traditional cigarettes. This doesn’t make e-cigarette use (also known as vaping or JUULing, after a popular brand of e-cigarette) a healthy activity. E-cigs still contain nicotine and cancer-causing agents found in traditional smoking devices.

Although researchers are still determining the long-term effects of vaping, scientists have found that young vapers may be more likely to smoke traditional cigarettes in the future. The presence of nicotine, a highly addictive substance, can harm a developing adolescent brain and increase the risk for future addiction to other drugs

Quitting smoking – of any type – is the most important step you can take to protect your lungs and improve quality of life.

Some benefits of quitting smoking are:

  • Likely prolong your life
  • Reduce the risk of developing lung cancer, throat cancer, lung disease (emphysema or COPD), heart disease, high blood pressure, ulcers or gum disease
  • Feel healthier
  • Improved sense of taste and smell
  • Save money

How to quit smoking

There’s no single way to quit smoking that works for everyone. A smoking cessation program may be helpful. Ask your doctor about a program in your community.

Make a plan to help you quit.

  • Pick a date to stop smoking and prepare for it.
  • Tell your family and friends so they can support you.
  • Record when and why you smoke so you are aware of triggers.
  • Record what you do when you smoke.
  • List your reasons for quitting.
  • Find activities to replace smoking.
  • Ask your doctor about using nicotine replacement products.

Tips to help you succeed:

  • Think about what you are gaining instead of what you are missing.
  • Read your list of reasons for quitting.
  • When you get the urge to smoke, take a deep breath and hold it for 10 seconds, then release it slowly.
  • Keep your hands busy.
  • Don’t carry a lighter, matches or cigarettes.
  • Go to places that don’t allow smoking.
  • Eat low calorie, healthy foods, such as carrot or celery sticks, fresh fruit and fat-free snacks; avoid sugary or spicy foods.
  • Drink lots of fluids such as water, herbal teas and juices; avoid alcoholic drinks.
  • Exercise to help you relax.
  • Hang out with nonsmokers.
  • Talk to others for support.

Possible withdrawal symptoms:

  • Crave cigarettes
  • Feel very hungry
  • Cough
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Constipation
  • Feel very tired
  • Feel nervous or sad
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty sleeping

Although withdrawal symptoms will be the strongest when you first quit, they will quickly improve and should go away within a few weeks. Don’t give up!

GEHA can help you quit

GEHA’s medical plans offer 100% coverage to help you quit smoking. No copays, coinsurance, deductibles, dollar limits or in-network or out-of-network differentiation. GEHA’s smoking cessation benefits include:

  • Up to four sessions of counseling for each attempt to quit, with two attempts to quit covered each year.
  • Both over-the-counter* (with a physician's prescription) and prescription drugs approved for smoking cessation.

*Nicotine gum is covered, but you must get a prescription from your doctor or receive the drugs as part of a plan-approved tobacco cessation program for it to be covered with no copays and coinsurance.

For more information, call GEHA Customer Care at 800.821.6136 or consult your GEHA Plan Brochure. For more information on the FEHB tobacco cessation benefit, visit OPM's Quit Smoking webpage.

Log in or create an account at healthbalance.geha.com for smoking-cessation workshops. Members can earn rewards for lesson completion.


Sources:

“Quick Facts on the Risks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens and Young Adults.” www.cdc.gov , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 11 March 2019.
“Asthma and Secondhand Smoke.” www.cdc.gov, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 21 March 2018.
“Asthma and Smoking.” www.webmd.com, WebMD LLC, 17 April 2018.