Mechanisms to Quit Smoking - Methods to End the Habit of Smoking

The quest to quit smoking has proven to be a test of willpower for many. The exercising of willpower does not always mean that one must deprive themselves of external tools. In fact, sometimes willpower means doing what it takes to achieve a task and accomplish one’s goals.

Cessation Method: Cold Turkey

The cold turkey method is the most commonly used technique. Approximately 90% of all smokers who attempt to quit endeavor to do so without the aid of nicotine replacement therapy or other medication. It is also the least effective method. It is a challenging method that requires a lot of willpower, but it is also the fastest method and is therefore recommended for people who need to quit urgently due to serious medical issues.

According to the American Lung Association, less than 5% of people who choose to quit smoking by going cold turkey will find long-term success.

Drugs and Medications

Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) are designed to provide individuals suffering from nicotine addiction a safer alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes, thereby easing the quitting process. Nicotine replacement therapies can take the form of gum, patches, inhalers or nasal sprays.

The use of NRT can increase the success rate of quitting by 50% to 70%. After one year, the success rate for NRT is between 6% and 16%, with nicotine patches proving to be marginally more effective than nicotine gum. The side effects caused by the use of NRT include dizziness, upset stomach, blurred vision, skin irritation (from patches) and headaches.

Non-nicotine Smoking Cessation Medication – Certain prescription medications can be used to aid in quitting smoking. Some of them can even be used along with NRT in order to boost the chances of success. These medications do not contain nicotine, are non-habit-forming and are found to have a slightly higher success rate than NRT. The most popular ones on the market are Bupropion (known by the brand names of Zyban® or Wellbutrin®) and Varenicline (Chantix®).

Bupropion is an antidepressant that can reduce the effects of nicotine withdrawal. It should be taken for 7 to 12 weeks, starting 2 weeks before the planned quit date. The most common side effects of Bupropion include headaches, insomnia, fatigue, agitation, irritability, indigestion, and dry mouth.

Varenicline is a medication that interferes with the nicotine receptors in the brain. It can make smoking less pleasurable and reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. The side effects include headaches, nausea, vomiting, trouble sleeping, unusual dreams, and gas.

Electronic Cigarettes

Some people use electronic cigarettes to quit smoking in a similar fashion to nicotine replacement therapy. Several brands offer e-liquids of varying nicotine content that can be useful in gradually decreasing your nicotine intake. This avoids the 7,000 chemicals that analogue cigarettes produce. Instead, e-cigarettes simply utilize a heating coil to gently vaporize the e-liquid.

An added benefit of e-cigarettes over other forms of NRT is that they directly address the habit of smoking itself.

E-cigarettes help aid the oral fixation most smokers struggle with after quitting, and they make the transition to becoming a non-smoker less stressful.

These devices are also cheaper than purchasing a pack of traditional cigarettes every day. After purchasing a starter kit for an average of $40, which is cheaper than a standard carton of cigarettes, the only cost is replacing the cartomizer and e-liquid. The average cost for a pack of cartomizers is about $5 for a pack of five. Each cartomizer will last about a week.

The standard cost of e-liquid is about $15 for a 15ml bottle. This will last around two weeks. This puts the total weekly cost at about $8.25, as opposed to $42 per week for traditional cigarettes.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a short-term therapy that focuses on specific problems in your life. It can be used to help quit smoking by changing the maladjusted thought patterns that make the smoker experience cigarette cravings and teaching new, constructive ways to deal with stress or anxiety. It has been proven to increase the odds of success, especially when combined with smoking cessation medication. However, qualified, competent specialists can be hard to come by and expensive.

Conclusion

Everyone is different, and the best method for you depends on your personality, circumstances and even genetic makeup. Don’t be afraid to experiment and change methods if you feel one isn’t working for you. Chances are that what feels most natural to you will work best. In the end, it doesn’t matter so much which method you used, but how dedicated you were to making it work.

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