Most people are now aware that cigarette smoking is a major preventable cause of premature disease & death: It causes lungs disease, cancer, heart disease, & stroke. For this reason, many people are eager to stop smoking.
In spite of the health risks involved, 1 in 5 American adults still smokes on the regular basis. The main reasons for this are that nicotine is addictive & changing a habit is hard. But there is help at hand.
Research shows that it is possible to break with the unhealthy routine and kick the habit once & for all with the right approach.
Here are 7 of the most effective methods used to quit smoking and stay stopped.
1. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
Many people find it easier to replace the nicotine in their system with replacement therapies like patches or gum.
Nicotine in cigarettes is addictive, which is why people experience the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit. Without the other poisonous chemicals in tobacco smoke, NRT provides a low level of nicotine.
This helps to ease some of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, such as intense cravings, tingling of hands & feet, nausea, insomnia, mood swings, & difficulty concentrating. NRT is available as:
Patches can be bought in a pharmacy without any prescription. They act by slowly releasing nicotine, which is absorbed into our body through the skin. Over 2 to 3 months, the amount of nicotine the body is exposed to is gradually reduced by switching to the lower-dose patches until it is no longer required. Some people wear their patches all the time & provide a steady dose of nicotine over 1 day, while others remove their patches at night. Discuss with your doctor that which option is right for you.
Inhalers, lozenges, gum, & sprays work quickly, but their effects only last for a short time. As such, it is often recommended that a patch is used to provide the daily dose of nicotine & the fast-acting products used to relieve intense cravings.
Evidence that using the combination of NRTs can significantly increase the chances of success compared with using just a single product.
Varenicline (Chempax) works by triggering the release of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical messenger which helps control the reward of brain & pleasure centers. Smoking raises levels of this feel-good chemical in our body artificially. So, when smokers quit, they often experience anxiety & depression until their natural dopamine production levels are restored.
Varenicline helps to counteract this low dopamine levels & lessen some of the symptoms caused by nicotine withdrawal. At the same time, it blocks the satisfying effects of nicotine should the person relapse & smoke. As such, it is also useful to reduce the reinforcing effects of nicotine level.
Bupropion (Zyban) is an antidepressant, but it has been found to help the people stop smoking. It reduces the dopamine shortfall experienced in the nicotine withdrawal like varenicline & so may reduce the irritability & difficulty in concentrating linked to quitting smoking.
It can particularly useful for those concerned about potential weight gain while people quitting smoking as it has been shown to decrease the appetite & the tendency to overeat.
An e-cigarette is an electronic device which allows for the inhalation of nicotine in a vapour without the other harmful byproducts of tobacco, such as tar & carbon monoxide.
According to the latest research suggests that e-cigarettes can help people in quitting smoking because people can gradually reduce the nicotine content of the e-liquid in a similar way to NRT. However, there is some controversy in the literature about this smoking cessation approach.
5. Vitamin B & C
Many studies have shown that smokers generally have lower concentrations of circulating B vitamins & lower levels of vitamin C as compared with non-smokers. Smokers often cite stress as 1 of the triggers that increase the craving for a cigarette. The B vitamins are known as the “anti-stress” vitamins & they can help to balance mood.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which may help us to protect the lungs from the oxidative stress caused by cigarette smoke. So, supplementing with these vitamins may help when people stopping smoking.
6. Use an app to track habits
Few apps can help to track & cut down on smoking cigarettes.