As a primary care physician at Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) Federal Way, Dr. Scott Trapman helps patients with a full range of issues, from well-child visits and preventive care to family planning, diseases of aging and osteopathic manipulative treatment. But one of his passions is helping people quit smoking.
“Smoking causes chronic bronchitis, emphysema and lung cancer. When it comes to COVID-19, smokers and vape users are much more likely to suffer serious complications or death than healthy non-users,” Dr. Trapman says. “But evidence suggests that once a person quits using tobacco products for twenty years, their risk of heart attack, stroke or cancer becomes equal to the risks faced by non-smokers. So it’s always worth it to try to cut back.”
If you’re considering switching from cigarettes to a different method of tobacco consumption to improve your health, Dr. Trapman suggests you reconsider.
“I don’t believe that some tobacco products are less likely to cause harm,” he says. “Snuffs, dips, chews and plugs cause head and neck cancers. Vaping causes an inflammation of the lung (pneumonitis) that can be life threatening. Of course, all products containing nicotine — including gums and patches — may lead to hypertension, coronary artery disease (heart attacks), strokes and peripheral arterial disease. If you want to do what you can to stay healthy, your primary care physician can help.”
Dr. Trapman doesn’t have any magic potions for smoking cessation, but he offers practical advice that can improve your chances of leaving nicotine behind.
- “Quitting smoking is very hard, but avoiding restarting is even harder.” When people quit using tobacco products, the physical withdrawal symptoms only last only three to five days. Most people manage to get through those initial physical withdrawal symptoms but still return to smoking. They “fall off the wagon” because they don’t have a solid plan or the proper support in place.
- Make a plan. “This is important! A smoke break is dedicated ‘me’ time and your brain will miss that break if you don’t fill in the time with a replacement activity. Plan for those temptations before they come,” Dr. Trapman says. Contemplating quitting is the first step, and setting a quit date is the next. “Pick a date seven to ten days in the future so you have time to make a plan.”
- Enroll in a tobacco-cessation program. “Pharmaceutical products may not work for everyone, but they do help many. Studies on Chantix and Zyban show that people are much more likely to succeed if they are used in conjunction with an education program.” Classes provide important information and also reinforce your commitment to tobacco cessation.
For more information on smoking cessation or other family health questions, visit Dr. Trapman at the Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) Federal Way at 31833 Gateway Center Blvd S. To make an appointment call 253-214-1920 or book online at pacmed.org.