Mar 18, 2021 11:00 AM

Read time: 4 minutes

Author: Jamie Graybill, LCSW

Jamie Graybill, LCSW
Jamie Graybill, LCSW

Jamie Graybill is a tobacco treatment specialist at Huntsman Cancer Institute in the Tobacco Cessation Program. She received a master’s degree in social work from the University of Utah. She has lived and worked in Moab, Utah, and Washington state. Jamie is trained to help patients understand and voice their reasons for wanting to make a positive health change. Here, Jamie shares frequently asked questions about the Tobacco Cessation Program.

I am an HCI patient and use tobacco. What resources at HCI can help me quit?

The Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) Tobacco Cessation Program offers HCI patients counseling and prescription medications or nicotine replacement therapy. This program is completely cost-free for our patients. Our team consists of me, Jamie Graybill, LCSW; Edlira Farka, APRN; and Sharmilee Nuli, MS, who helps all of our patients schedule their appointments. 

I want to quit but have failed in the past. What else can I do?

Quitting tobacco or nicotine is very difficult. With our tools, we hope to help you reach your goals in quitting or decreasing tobacco or vaping use. Most people try an average of seven times before completely being able to quit for good. Knowing what worked for you in the past, as well as what barriers you encountered, will help us work together to develop an even stronger strategy for moving forward. Our goal is to help you keep trying.  

I am not sure I am ready to quit. Should I even bother to make an appointment?

Our team works with folks wherever they are in their process. Whether you have just started thinking about quitting or are looking to cut back, we can walk you through personalized, proven strategies and can help you know where to start. We can also talk about how we can work together when you are ready to quit.

I am not sure about taking medication to quit using tobacco. Isn’t that just as bad for you?

The decision to take medication is always up to you. Our team is here to support whatever you decide. Preferred medications for tobacco cessation are generally safe and effective. Nicotine is very addictive and that’s what makes it so hard to quit using tobacco. However, it is not cancerous. Nicotine replacement therapy delivers nicotine slowly through the bloodstream. Think of it as “clean nicotine” because you get the nicotine without other added chemicals.

We will work with you and take a look at your medical history before making recommendations for medication. Our team will discuss proper use with you as well as what to expect. 

Does vaping cause cancer?

We are still studying the effects of vaping and a possible link with cancer. We know electronic nicotine devices are not harmless. They contain nicotine, ultrafine particles, flavorings, heavy metals, and cancer-causing chemicals. The ingredients in nicotine devices vary and are not FDA regulated. Learn more about the risks of e-cigarettes.

How does quitting improve my health?

Quitting tobacco or nicotine is the most important step you can take to improve your health. When you quit, you are lowering your risk for cancer, heart attack, and stroke. People with cancer who quit may live longer and have a better quality of life. Smoking can interact with your treatment for cancer and worsen side effects, such as nausea and pain.

It is never too late to quit, and for many patients it’s helpful to view quitting tobacco as part of a holistic lifestyle change. Other things that support long-term tobacco cessation are drinking more water, getting a full night’s rest, exercising, and building skills to cope with stress.

My loved one has cancer and is a smoker. How can I help them quit or reduce their tobacco use?

If your loved one is a patient at HCI, please let them know about our Tobacco Cessation Program and our services, which are free to our patients. Family support is crucial and so helpful to anyone who is working on quitting or decreasing using tobacco. The decision will always be up to the patient, but we are glad to talk to anyone who is thinking about decreasing tobacco or nicotine use, no matter where they are in the quitting process. 

tobacco cancer prevention

Cancer touches all of us.

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