How FOLX Can Help You Quit Smoking

Get LGBTQIA+ inclusive smoking cessation support with FOLX. Access effective treatments and resources to quit smoking for good.

May 28, 2024
 . 
6
 MIN READ
Listen to article

This article was clinically reviewed by Michelle Forcier, MD and Kevin Edelen, FNP-C.

Introduction

Approximately one in three LGBTQIA+ individuals report regular smoking habits. We smoke for a lot of reasons, which we won’t deep dive into in this article, but many of us want to quit, too! And for good reason - habitual smoking and tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. 

Smoking cessation or stopping using tobacco is more than just quitting a habit; it's a path toward better health and improved quality of life. For those of us in the LGBTQIA+ community, unique stressors and challenges, such as discrimination and social pressures, can make quitting smoking particularly difficult, as can spending time in certain social spaces or around a lot of other people who smoke. In addition, we often face barriers to accessing LGBTQIA+ inclusive health care.

We at FOLX aim to partner with you for better health, whatever that looks like for you. Our members get access to highly educated and diverse clinicians ready to help you quit. FOLX clinicians are specifically trained to understand and address the unique needs of our community, providing empathetic support and personalized treatment plans that respect each individual's experiences. 

This guide is designed to help you understand how FOLX can help you navigate smoking cessation. We’re here to support you every step of the way on your journey to quit smoking and improve your general health and well-being.

How do I know when I should see a clinician about quitting smoking?

You might consider seeking professional help if you’ve attempted to quit smoking multiple times without success, experience strong cravings or withdrawal symptoms, or if smoking is impacting your physical health and quality of life. Additionally, if you find yourself smoking to cope with stress, anxiety, or social situations, it may be beneficial to discuss these challenges with a clinician who understands the complexities of LGBTQIA+ mental health and substance use.

Smoking cessation is not just a matter of willpower. Nicotine addiction is a medical condition that can be effectively treated with a combination of behavioral therapies, medications, and support systems. At FOLX, we understand that quitting smoking can be a complex process, especially within the context of LGBTQIA+ experiences. Our clinicians are equipped to provide support, referrals, and prescription medications tailored to meet your individual needs to ensure your success in quitting.

What kind of treatment options are there for quitting smoking?

FOLX clinicians offer a comprehensive range of treatments tailored to the diverse needs of our community, including:

Medication Management: Prescription medications such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), bupropion (Zyban), and varenicline (Chantix) can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. These medications are safe and effective for many people. Each of these medications works a little differently, so it’s important to talk to your clinician about what might be best for you.

Behavioral Therapy: Counseling and therapy can be critical components of a smoking cessation plan. FOLX provides access to therapy (in select states) and referrals to LGBTQIA+ inclusive therapists (in all states) who can help you develop coping strategies and address the psychological aspects of quitting smoking.

Support Groups and Community Resources: Connecting with others who are also working to quit smoking can provide mutual support and motivation. FOLX offers access to support groups and community resources specifically for LGBTQIA+ individuals.

Lifestyle Adjustments: Guidance on exercise, diet, and stress management techniques can significantly enhance your ability to quit smoking and maintain a smoke-free life.

Medical Screening: Screening for underlying medical conditions that might impact your smoking cessation journey, such as mental health issues or chronic illnesses, can help tailor a more effective treatment plan.

Educational Resources: FOLX provides access to a wealth of educational materials and resources that can help you understand the process of quitting smoking and stay informed about the best strategies and practices.

I’m ready to quit. How should I prepare for my upcoming visit?

To make the most of your visit, consider documenting your smoking habits, including the number of cigarettes you smoke daily or how much you vape, any triggers that prompt you to smoke, and previous quit attempts. It’s also important to note any medications you may have tried in the past to quit smoking so your clinician can make any necessary modifications to ensure your success. Remember to let your clinician know during your visit if you are being treated for any other health conditions or are taking any medications. 

Reflect on your reasons for wanting to quit smoking and any concerns or questions you might have about the process. Being open about your personal identity and how your social environment impacts your smoking can significantly influence the care you receive. Recognizing your own limitations while keeping the communication channels open with your FOLX clinical team will promote the most desirable outcomes. We want you to succeed!

What should I expect during a FOLX visit for smoking cessation?

During a telehealth visit for smoking cessation, you can expect a thorough discussion of your smoking history, current habits, and motivations for quitting. Your FOLX clinician will ask questions to assess your readiness to quit and discuss any previous attempts to quit.

Together, you'll explore coping strategies, set goals, and develop a personalized treatment plan. Your clinician will offer support, guidance, and tools to help you manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms effectively. You will also have access to the care team after your appointment if you experience side effects or have additional questions about your treatment options.

If you’re receiving a prescription, we will send those to a pharmacy of your choice following your visit, and ensure you get your medication refills as needed.

Other Resources / Further Reading

For more information and support on quitting smoking, you can explore additional resources:

For more information and support on, you can explore additional resources:

FAQs

Q: Can smoking cessation treatments be tailored for LGBTQIA+ individuals?

A: Yes, FOLX clinicians understand the unique challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ individuals and tailor smoking cessation treatments to meet your needs. You’ll work with your care team to determine a treatment plan that works best for you throughout your quitting journey.

Q: Are there any support groups for LGBTQIA+ individuals trying to quit smoking?

A: Yes, there are support groups specifically for LGBTQIA+ individuals, and FOLX can help you connect with these resources. Additionally, there are also many smoking quitlines and smartphone applications which provide more support and coaching if desired. Please let us know if you’d like additional information about these services after your appointment.

Q: What are the benefits of quitting smoking?

A: Smoking is the leading cause of preventable chronic diseases in the United States. Quitting smoking can improve your overall health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, enhance your quality of life, and increase life expectancy. People who continue to smoke have higher morbidity and mortality rates than those that do not. Smoking cessation also reduces tobacco-associated cancer risks.  Lung function will begin to improve within the first one month to one year of quitting. Heart attack and stroke risks begin to reduce in a little as a year. 

Q: How long does it take to quit smoking?

A: The timeline for quitting smoking varies for each person. The first two to four weeks are often the most difficult due to possible nicotine withdrawal.  It is important to not get discouraged. Medications, like bupropion and varenicline, are usually recommended for at least 8 to 12 weeks in conjunction with behavioral modifications to ensure total smoking cessation is successful.  With the right support and resources, many people can quit smoking and maintain a smoke-free life. It’s important you work with your clinician to determine a treatment plan to meet your needs.

__________

FOLX Health is the first digital healthcare company designed by and for the LGBTQIA+ community. Our services include primary care, gender-affirming hormone therapy including estrogen and testosterone (HRT), mental health care, sexual and reproductive health care, and fertility consultations. FOLX memberships give you access to LGBTQIA+ expert clinicians, peer support, thousands of LGBTQIA+ resources, and more. Whether you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender non-conforming, nonbinary, or another identity, you can find LGBTQ-specialized health care that helps you meet your wellness goals. Get all the benefits of becoming a FOLX member and sign up today!

Related articles

View all posts