Smoking has been associated with a variety of diseases that can affect the lungs, heart, intestines, and oral cavity. Numerous cancers have also been linked with smoking which span the entire body. It’s important to know that most smokers, who ultimately quit, require multiple attempts before success is seen.
Various methods exist to help one to stop smoking and are outlined as follows:
1. Unassisted – This involves quitting cold turkey (abruptly) or gradually decreasing the number of cigarettes smoked per day. It's recommended that this approach be used in conjunction with nicotine replacement or other aides to increase the likelihood of success. Unassisted quitting carries approximately a 7% success rate.
2. Nicotine replacement – various patches, gums, and lozenges exist that can provide nicotine to the body which would prevent the smoker from craving for a cigarette. Ultimately the amount of nicotine that is used as a replacement is decreased.
3. Medications – A several antidepressants have been used to decrease the craving for cigarettes and these include bupropion, nortriptyline, and varenicline. Many studies have proven their effectiveness and they can be combined with other forms of therapy. These medications require a doctor’s prescription in order to be obtained.
4. Support groups – Either online or in person, support groups and communities have shown to be effective in helping individuals quit smoking.
5. Alternative therapies – Acupuncture has, thus far, not shown to be effective as a quit aid. Herbal medications lack evidence, as data is inconclusive. Hypnosis, however, does show some promise because in certain cases it can be as effective as nicotine replacement.
6. E-cigarettes – Electronic cigarettes have been touted as quit aides, but evidence to support this is lacking. Also, various harmful chemicals can be present in the vapor produced by some brands.
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