Patients at the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center have access to tobacco treatment specialists who work with individuals to develop a personalized treatment plan with evidence-based interventions.
Tobacco dependence is a complex issue involving a physical addiction to nicotine and a behavioral component, according to Deborah Hudson Buckles is program director of the cancer center’s Tobacco Treatment Program.
“Tobacco is as addictive as cocaine and heroin,” Buckles said. “Our culture thinks that it’s just a bad habit and quitting is as easy as slapping on a patch, but we know it’s not that easy and people need professional help.”
The best way to quit tobacco is a combination of medications and behavioral counseling or support. Buckles says many people need help understanding how to properly use medications for tobacco recovery like gum, lozenges and patches. A doctor or pharmacist can also prescribe other medications.
“We know that medication alone is helpful, and it does help a lot of people; we also know that behavioral counseling is helpful alone,” Buckles said. “But when you combine the two, you get significantly better outcomes.”