Quit Smoking Aids

Quit Aids - Know Your Choices

Nicotine patch on a woman's arm.
Ian Hooton/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

Hands down......the best quit aid on the planet is your own will and determination. If you aren't motivated and committed to kicking the habit, no quit aid can help you. If you are ready to quit, any of them have the potential to work beautifully.

That said, a variety of products are on the market today that are designed to help people quit smoking gradually. Choosing one that is right for you is essentially a matter of preference, barring any medical concerns you may have.

It's always a good idea to check with your doctor about quit smoking options and discuss what might work best for you before making a decision.

A Word about Cold Turkey...

Cold turkey is the term used to describe quitting smoking with no help from quit aids of any sort. The advantage of this method is that the majority of nicotine is out of a person's body within a few days. The discomforts can be intense, but physical withdrawal is short. A lot of people quit successfully by going cold turkey. But if this sounds too extreme for your liking, plenty of other options are available to help you withdraw from nicotine more comfortably.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) provide a measured dose of nicotine to help ease the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Unlike cigarettes, which consist of thousands of poisonous and/or carcinogenic chemicals,

NRTs contain only nicotine.

When used according to the manufacturer's directions, NRTs allow one to withdraw from nicotine by gradually reducing the amount of it in each dose.

  • Nicotine Patch Facts
    Let's take a look at the pros and cons of one of the most popular NRT's(nicotine replacement therapies) available on the market today, the nicotine patch.
    • Nicotine Inhaler Facts
      The nicotine inhaler is a NRT that consists of a plastic cigarette-like tube that houses a replaceable nicotine cartridge and a mouthpiece. The cartridge contains nicotine which is released into the user's mouth and throat when inhaled.
    • Nicotine Lozenge Information
      The nicotine lozenge is a NRT that comes in the form of a small, candy-like tablet. When placed in the mouth and allowed to dissolve, nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream.
    • Nicotine Gum
      Used as a chewing gum, nicotine gum comes in two strengths: 2mg for people who smoke less than 25 cigarettes a day, and 4mg for those who smoke 25 or more cigarettes a day.

    The Downside of NRTs

    Because NRTs contain nicotine, the addictive component in tobacco, a certain risk of re-addiction is involved when using these products. However, if you follow the manufacturer's directions carefully and wean off the NRT of your choice as specified, this can be a safe and comfortable way to end your smoking addiction.

    Nicotine-Free Quit Aids

    Several quit smoking aids are available now that do not use nicotine as an active ingredient. The following therapies are given under a doctor's care only.

    • Zyban
      Bupropion hydrochloride, marketed under the names Zyban, Wellbutrin SR, and Wellbutrin XL by GlaxoSmithKline, is an anti-depressant drug that also works well as a smoking cessation aid. It has been shown to dramatically reduce physical withdrawal symptoms associated with nicotine.
    • Chantix
      Discovered and developed by Pfizer, Inc, varenicline tartrate is marketed under the trademark of Chantix. Approved by the FDA in May 2006, Chantix has the unique ability to partially activate nicotinic receptors in the brain, reducing a person's craving for nicotine when he quits smoking. Additionally, if a person smokes during the course of varenicline treatment, the drug impedes smoking satisfaction by blocking nicotine from binding with these same receptors.
    • Chantix Testimonials
      When evaluating a particular quit smoking therapy, it's helpful to hear how other people have felt when using it. This list of pros and cons comes from those who have used varenicline tartrate to help them quit smoking.

    Other Quit Smoking Methods and Remedies

    • Hypnosis
      Hypnosis puts people into an altered state of mind where they become more susceptible to suggestion. It can be used to quit smoking, and while it seems to work well for some, it isn't for everyone. Learn what you need to know to decide if it's right for you.
    • Self-Hypnosis
      In his book, Quit Smoking Without Gaining Weight, hypnotist Paul McKenna shares insight and practical tips about how to successfully quit smoking (and at the same time, avoid weight gain) by reprogamming our minds.
    • Acupuncture
      Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical practice which uses needles placed at specific spots in the skin to treat pain or disease. It can be used to treat addiction to nicotine.
    • Lobelia as a Quit Aid
      Lobelia is sometimes recommended as an herbal remedy for nicotine withdrawal.  How well does it work and are there any drawbacks?

    What About The Electronic Cigarette?

    The electronic cigarette is a smoking alternative rather than a quit aid.  It has not been approved in the U.S. as a quit aid as of yet, so there isn't a doctor-devised and approved quit plan to go with it.  

    Even so, a lot of people use to help them quit smoking.  Does it work?  What are the drawbacks?

    Withdrawal from nicotine is just one part of the healing process we go through while recovering from nicotine addiction.

    The rest of the story involves how we let go of the many mental associations that have built up over the years between smoking and our lives. Quit aids cannot help us with this aspect of healing, but support and education can.

    Use the resources below to help you round out your quit program and ensure long-term success.

    Research and select your quit aid/method of approach, add some support and education, and you're on your way. And remember, if at first you don't succeed, learn from what went wrong and try again. Most smokers have a few failed quit attempts under their belts prior to finding the quit that fits for life.

    Work on making your resolve solid, and nothing will be able to stop you.

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