Stopping smoking can be very challenging, and there are so many quit smoking products to choose from that it can be hard to know which one is the best for you. Ploughing through all of the different smoke cessation products when you are in the midst of nicotine withdrawal can be quite overwhelming, so here you can find a clear outline of some of the best quit smoking aids available on the market today so that you can make an informed decision.
There are two primary types of e-cigarette – ones that contain nicotine and ones that do not. If you are feeling very stressed during the quitting smoking process, you may find that an e-cigarette which produces vapor but which contains no nicotine could be enough to get you through. However, if you are still craving a nicotine fix, a nicotine containing e-cigarette offers you a safer way to satisfy your craving without exposing yourself to the harmful components found in tobacco cigarettes such as carbon monoxide and tar.
Nicotine Chewing Gum
Nicotine gum can deliver a small amount of nicotine into the body when it is chewed without exposing you to any harmful chemicals. It is an ideal way to deliver your required nicotine dosage in any place or at any time and it works to reduce your cravings on a temporary basis, especially when you are facing a stressful situation. Nicotine gum is perfect for preventing a rapid relapse in the first few weeks following quitting smoking. It is chewed in a different way to regular gum, as it is chewed a few times then placed between the lower lip and the gum, allowing the nicotine content to be absorbed into the tissues of the mouth. No food or drink should be consumed for 15 minutes before and after chewing nicotine gum for it to have the best effect.
A nicotine inhaler functions in a similar way to an e-cigarette but without the vapor and without the shape of a traditional cigarette. These are a good choice for use in a smoke free environment and deliver a small amount of nicotine whenever the user takes a puff.
Wearing nicotine patches helps many people to cope with the stress linked with nicotine withdrawal. One patch per day worn on the skin from waking up until going to bed is adequate for most users, and assists in smoothing out the drop in nicotine in the blood. Nicotine patches can cause irritation if you have sensitive skin, so if you find your skin blisters, burns, itches or turns red, you should try an alternative form of quit smoking aid.
Nicotine Mouth Spray
A nicotine mouth spray functions by allowing a small amount of nicotine to be delivered through the tissues of the mouth. As nicotine has a bitter flavor, nicotine mouth sprays are generally flavored to improve the taste. These mouth sprays can be used as frequently as you would have normally smoked a cigarette (up to a maximum of four sprays an hour and 64 sprays over 24 hours) and helps to ward off any cravings.
A therapist can deliver hypnosis that may prove helpful if you are quitting smoking. Hypnosis calms the mind, using a mix of techniques including guided imagery, relaxation, visualization and meditation to allow the mind to focus on a specific outcome i.e. quitting smoking. Therapists say that hypnosis works by reaching the subconscious while it is in a relaxed state and breaking the addiction to nicotine. It also reduces anger, stress, depression and anxiety. Many people find that hypnosis is an effective way to quit smoking, however results vary from individual to individual.
Acupunture has been shown to be fairly effective in helping people to quit smoking. It works by having an acupuncturist place very small needles into the top skin layers in certain areas of the body in order to trigger changes and encourage healing. Acupressure is another form of the technique which uses pressure on certain areas of the body without puncuturing the skin.
There are now several medications on the market which can help you to stop smoking, reducing the stress, depression and cravings that are associated with quitting the habit. One such medication is Zyban (sometimes knwon as buproprion) which is an aminoketone drug which regulates and increases the amount of dopamine and other chemicals in the brain, reducing the intensity and frequency of nicotine cravings. These medications can cause side effects including a rapid heart rate, weakness or even depression and therefore they must be prescribed by a qualified physician.
When you are quitting smoking, you will find peer support invaluable. Online communities and networks can be very helpful and are also usually free to join, offering guidance and a place to discuss problems and cravings and to share experiences.
A psychotherapist can offer invaluable support through the process of quitting smoking, with a short term course of therapy enabling you to address your craving triggers and to equip you with the skills to help you cope and to make healthier future choices. A counselor can also help you to identify the triggers that prompt you to smoke and to help you find a way to cope with them.
Attending A Local Support Group
As well as online support groups, you may find that there are also support groups in your local area. Nicotine Anonymous is one such group that allows ex-smokers to provide peer support for each other as long as it is required. You may find a support group near you in a treatment center, cancer center or addiction center.
If you have access to a smartphone or mobile device, you can access many helpful apps that will aid you in your journey to quitting smoking permanently. There are many apps available for Blackberry, Windows Mobile, iPhone and Android devices, including:
- Quit It Lite
- LIVESTRONG MyQuit Coach
- Quit Smoking
- Quit Smoking: Cessation Nation
- My Last Cigarettes
- Butt Out
- Craving to Quit
- UCSF/SFGH Stop Smoking
Each app offers a different experience, however each one can offer you essential guidance to help you stay on track.
90% of those who quit smoking try the cold turkey method first, without any aids, medicine, support or therapy. Although this is the most common method, it is not the most successful way to quit, with only around 7% of people finding success with this method.
Creating A Quitting Plan
A quit plan involves choosing a date to quit that allows you enough time to prepare for the challenge. Tell all of your family and friends that you are giving up the habit, get rid of all ashtrays and cigarettes in your car, at home and at work and identify any triggers that prompt you to smoke and develop a plan for dealing with each one.
One way to boost your chance of success is to use a combination of two or more treatment methods. However, you should not use two nicotine replacement methods together as this has not yet been approved by the FDA. One proven successful combination of treatments is nicotine replacement therapy in the form of gum or patches combined with behavioral therapy.