People who want to quit smoking cigarettes no longer have to suffer through
withdrawal affects brain mood centres
A number of options now exist, and though most have some side effects;
experts generally believe that the benefits of quitting smoking far exceed the
risks posed by side effects.
Current options include:
Nicotine replacement therapy
nicotine replacement therapy really is
A variety of nicotine replacement products have been approved by the US Food
and Drug Administration. They include the nicotine
nasal and mouth
spray, according to Hilary Tindle, director of the Tobacco Treatment
Service at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre.
Patches, gum and lozenges do not require a prescription. A doctor's
prescription is necessary for nasal spray or the inhaler, according to the
American Cancer Society.
Two medications can help smokers quit. One is bupropion
(marketed as an antidepressant under the brand name Wellbutrin and as a
quit-smoking aid under the brand name Zyban); the other is varenicline
(Chantix). Tindle said that bupropion can be used in combination with nicotine
replacement therapy, but that varenicline generally should not be, though she
said there are rare exceptions to that rule. "Both varenicline and
bupropion are effective," she said.
"Chantix has warnings for rare psychiatric side effects, but it's a
very effective and wonderful drug that helps a lot of people quit
smoking," said Dr Gordon Strauss, a psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in
New York City and founder of QuitGroups, a free smoking cessation service.
Alternative treatments also are available to help people quit smoking,
and acupuncture. Tindle said there haven't been large trials on hypnosis or
acupuncture so they're not included in national guidelines. But, she said that
if the only downside to a treatment is the cost or the time involved, and
someone really wants to try an alternative treatment, she doesn't discourage
"The importance of social support has been minimised, but there are a
lot of resources out there, like state quit lines," Strauss said.
"It's a very important component of quitting."
said that people who called helplines and took nicotine replacement therapy
doubled their chances of successfully quitting smoking.
Although smoking cessation experts have yet to give e-cigarettes
the green light, many consumers are already using them to become smoke-free.
The devices use heat to turn nicotine and other chemicals into a vapour that's
inhaled, much like smoking a cigarette. Most even look like a tobacco
"E-cigarettes have been such a blessing in my life," said
Elizabeth Phillips, a Philadelphia resident and former smoker. "I tried
patches, gums and pills, and nothing worked. E-cigarettes combined with
perseverance and the desire to quit helped me quit."
The bottom line
Tindle and Strauss both emphasised that people shouldn't be discouraged if
their first quit attempt isn't successful. For most people, it takes more than
"Set a quit date, and realise that failure is part of the
process," Strauss said. "Some people take up to 10 times to quit.
Dieters know that when they're losing weight, it will take time. One day you
may have a piece of apple pie, but the next day you start again. Relapses
happen; be easy on yourself."
And as Tindle said, "Remember, no matter what your age, you'll benefit
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