If you’re looking to kick your smoking habit, you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 69 percent of current cigarette smokers in the U.S. want to quit. There are plenty of methods to try, but which ones are actually likely to work? Let us break it down for you.
The 5 Most Common Ways to Quit Smoking:
The vast majority of people looking to quit go cold turkey and try to break the addiction alone. While this method is cheaper than shelling out for therapy or medicine, it can be difficult to constantly resist the desire to light up with no outside support. Similarly, some people try to gradually reduce the number of cigarettes by only smoking half the cigarette or waiting an hour longer each day. Sure, it’s better than continuing to smoke at normal rates, but you’ll still need to employ some iron-clad willpower eventually if you do it alone. This method may be popular—and many have succeeded—but it has been found to be one of the least effective overall.
Many experts believe that counseling is the most important tool in the fight against addiction. In behavioral therapy, a counselor will guide you through finding the triggers that make you want to smoke, and help you come up with a plan to get through those cravings. Setting a specific quit date and anticipating your future challenges with an expert can help make the process go more smoothly. Not sure where to start? Well, 1-800-QUIT-NOW offers free one-on-one coaching to give you a boost.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy
A wide variety of nicotine replacement options are available these days, including gum, patches, inhalers, sprays and lozenges. Research suggests that nicotine replacements may double your chances of quitting successfully, and the cost of these options may be reduced through insurance or clinics. This route worked for President Barack Obama, for example, who chewed Nicorette while breaking his smoking habit. But you should note that there can be side effects, such as nausea, heartburn, or jaw pain from chewing gum. Many health experts recommend counseling in addition to medication, as the combination is more effective than either on its own.
If you’re looking for something a little stronger, talk to your doctor about medications like Zyban and Chantix, which have been shown to increase people’s chances of quitting successfully. The pills work by targeting the nicotine receptors in the brain, and blocking the reward effects of a cigarette. That said, this method, like the others, has its downsides. There can be extreme side effects, including depression and suicidal thoughts. But surveys have shown that people who use any type of drug treatment are more likely to quit smoking after six months than those who do not. Again, seek medical advice on this.
There is little clinical proof that hypnosis can actually help smokers quit, so it is often dismissed as an ineffective tactic. Because of this, the cost isn’t usually covered by insurance, so it can get pricey too. On the other hand, plenty of anecdotal evidence supports this approach, which some people swear by. Celebrities including Aaron Eckhart, Paul Rudd, and Charlize Theron all credit hypnosis guru Kerry Gaynor with breaking their nicotine addictions. On the bright side, hypnotherapists say that you won’t experience withdrawals, cravings or weight gain. But if you’re looking for a proven way to quit, hypnosis may not be for you.
Related: The Vape Debate: Pros and Cons of E-Cigarettes
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