It's time to start making your New Year's resolutions, and for some that could mean trying to quit smoking.
We hear the risks of smoking again and again, but it's a hard habit to give up -- especially for people who have smoked their entire lives. "They come in with acute and chronic respiratory failure, but also because of the COPD condition, they will also have pneumonia or bronchitis," said Gabriel Zaietta, a pulmonary and critical care physician at the Bristol Regional Medical Center.
COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, commonly known as chronic bronchitis.
Zaietta said smokers are addicted to nicotine, making it hard to quit, but he told us that smokers do have a lot of options when it comes time to give it up. "Two medications are approved by the FDA that can help, especially with the anxiety the craving," he said.
Those have to be prescribed by a doctor, but there are over-the-counter methods as well, like nicotine patches or gum.
Zaietta told us it's best to pick a date for quitting that matters to you, like your anniversary or your child's birthday, and he recommends that you don't do it alone. "Tell the people that you know, your [friends and family], that you're going to quit," he said.
Nicotine gum and patches are the traditional ways to quit smoking but we're told electronic cigarettes are becoming more popular.
We reached out to our WCYB Facebook followers, who told us their e-cigarette success stories. "August 30 was my last day of smoking thanks to ROCKY TOP VAPOR in Johnson City, TN. I have gained a few pounds, but I can breathe!," wrote Coal Miners Daughter.
Allexxis Dawn Matney told us a similar story about how she and her fiancé used e-cigarettes to quit six months ago. She told us her fiancé used to smoke two packs every day.
Jason Caywood said, "I smoked for 12 years and tried quitting a few times, but now I vape instead. Apparently it's like quitting according to [my] doctor."
Zaietta told us e-cigarettes aren't regulated by the FDA and can also have some risks."We don't even know what it is," he said. "They might have some other substances than regular cigarettes, and we don't know the consequences because they are relatively new."
He told the best thing to do is drop cigarettes altogether.
Zaietta said about 80 percent of the patients he sees have a disease related to smoking.