Quitting cigarette smoking is tough no matter their methods. However, given the harmful effects of smoking on the body, getting over it will be an excellent choice. Tobacco kills more than 8 million people annually. Additionally, smoking causes diseases such as cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and tuberculosis. But all of those can be avoided.
According to the American Cancer Society web site, tobacco use remains the one largest preventable reason for sickness and premature births within the United States. Most of the people who smoke know that smoking is unhealthy, but they also know that quitting is not easy. Fortunately, there is a number of ways to quit smoking. These ways are classified into cold turkey, medication, and combo treatment.
Going cold turkey means stopping to smoke without any support. Deciding when to quit is the most important and yet difficult step of this method. Going cold turkey can be done by quitting abruptly, which means continuing smoking right up until the quit day and then stop, or quitting gradually, which means reduce the cigarette intake slowly until the quit day and then stop. This method has a better chance of success if the person is mentally prepared especially for nicotine withdrawal. This might not be the best option, but trying will not hurt.
If going cold turkey is not successful, medication could be the right choice. Using medication to quit smoking increases the chance of success. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved seven medications to safely and effectively help with cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Three of these medications are available over-the-counter at most pharmacies namely: Nicotine gum, Nicotine patches, and Nicotine lozenges.
The four other medications are available only by prescription namely: Nicotine inhalers, Nicotine nasal sprays, Zyban (bupropion) – an antidepressant, and Chantix (varenicline) – a drug that blocks the effects of nicotine in the brain. Although medication has a high success rate, they also have health risks if not used properly, so always ask a health care provider.
Combo treatment is a mix of different methods. A smoker might be more likely to quit for good using different methods. For example, using both nicotine gum and patch may be better than using gum alone. Treatment with medications increases the effectiveness of quitting, especially when combined with counseling. These medications aid the cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and other side effects of quitting smoking. Behavioral support like written information and advice, group therapy or individual counseling, and support from family and friends may help the emotional struggles of the smoker.
Quitting Cigarette smoking is tough. It requires planning and commitment, it requires a person to be emotionally and physically prepared, it requires a person to be consistent and motivated, and it requires a lot of things. It will never be easy. On the other hand, quitting cigarette smoking could save a lot of money, could help stay healthy, and could add more years to spend with family and friends. Quitting to smoke is not easy, but it is possible. A simple act and effort could save millions of lives.