Norfolk County Cardiologist Association
Which quit smoking method is right for you?
There is no magic cure for quitting smoking. It takes motivation, commitment, and a plan. There are many methods available to help you quit smoking and it's important to choose one that feels right for you.
This brochure contains information about the common methods for quitting smoking. These methods can help you whether you smoke cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or chew tobacco.
For any of these methods to work, you have to decide that you want tobacco out of your life.
That's where quitting really begins.
THERE ARE THRE MAIN REASONS WHY PEOPLE GET "HOOKED" ON TOBACCO:
1. Craving for nicotine (Physical dependence) - The nicotine in tobacco is very addictive. When the nicotine in your blood drops, your body craves tobacco to bring the level back up.
2. To feel better - Feeling like you need to smoke to relax, to concentrate, or to deal with stress are examples of emotional dependency on tobacco.
3. Habit of smoking - Having a cup of coffee, talking on the phone, and driving your car are all examples of habits you may connect with smoking. Over time you no longer think about it. It just becomes a reflex to smoke when you do these things.
No single quit smoking method can address all three of these reasons for smoking. But if you combine methods you can address cravings, feelings, and habit, and increase your chance of quitting for good.
INDIVIDUAL & GROUP SUPPORT
Talking with a trained quit smoking specialist or health care provider about how to quit is the best kind of support. Individual support gives you a more personal experience. In a group you will have the support and understanding of others who are also trying to quit.
Individual and group support can help you make a quit plan that is suited to your own needs and help you to deal with the habit part of your smoking. They can help you understand your reasons for smoking, increase your motivation, and commitment to quit, and learn to resist the urge to smoke.
Nicotine Anonymous is based on the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous adapted for people with a nicotine addiction. It can be especially helpful for people who have already quit but who need extra support to stay quit.
CHOOSING A METHOD
Whether you decide to meet with a quit smoking specialist, join a group, or go iit alone, you will need to decide on what actual method you will use.
Quitting cold turkey means giving up cigarettes all at once. If you decide to quit cold turkey you are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms during the first few days. These may include irritability, sleep problems, constipation, headaches, and strong cravings for a cigarette. While these symptoms can be unpleasant, the good news is that they only last for a short time.
Cutting down or "tapering" means reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke before you actually quit. If you decide to quit by cutting down it is important to first set a quit date to stop smoking completely. Then set up a strict schedule for cutting down the number of cigarettes you smoke. You should do this for only a week or two at the most, before you give up cigarettes completely. Keep to your schedule, and don't postpone your quit date!
Some people believe the myth that using NRT will put their health at risk. In fact, the lower dose of nicotine in NRT is safer than the nicotine from cigarettes because it does not contain the harmful tars, carbon monoxide, and chemicals found in cigarette smoke.
There are a number of medications available to help you quit smoking. Medications can help reduce the cravings for nicotine while you get used to not smoking, and work best when used in combination with individual or group support.
NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPY (NRT)
NRT can help reduce the craving for nicotine while you get used to not smoking. NRT provides a low dose of nicotine to your body to help ease withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, cravings, and difficulty concentrating. Since NRT helps relieve the withdrawal, it allows you to concentrate on changing your smoking behavior.
The Nicotine Patch provides a steady dose of nicotine to your bloodstream throughout the day. The patch may be best for people who smoke at regular times of day (such as once every hour), and those who want the once-a-day convenience.
Nicotine gum allows the user to actively fight cravings as they happen. The gum may be best for people who smoke more at certain times of the day (such as evening), who want to relieve cravings when they happen, or who want something to do with their hands or mouth.
NICOTINE NASAL SPRAY
Nicotine nasal spray is sprayed into the nose where it is absorbed through the nasal membranes. The spray can reduce the craving for nicotine within a few minutes. Like the gum, you can use the spray when you want to relieve a craving. The nicotine nasal spray is available only through prescription, and is not recommended for people who have asthma, allergies, or chronic nasal disorders.
You use the nicotine inhaler in a way that is similar to smoking a cigarette. You hold it between your fingers and draw on it. Like the gun, it gives you something to do with your hands and mouth instead of smoking. Like the spray, it can reduce the craving for nicotine within a few minutes. It is available only through prescription.
Zyban is a non-nicotine medication to help people quit smoking. It helps lessen both the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and the urge to smoke. It is only available with a doctor's prescription and it takes 1 to 2 weeks to start working.
· Zyban is also prescribed under the name Wellbutrin to treat depression.
A final note on medications: a quit smoking specialist can help you learn more about the different methods and how to use them properly. However, you should talk with your health care provider or pharmacist to learn if there is any reason why you should not use these medications.
OTHER METHODS AVAILABLE
During hypnosis you are given suggestions which stay in your mind after the session ends. Hypnosis can teach you skills to relax and cope with stress.
Acupuncture can help reduce withdrawal symptoms when you quit. Acupuncture involves putting small, flexible needles into the skin, generally on your ears, but may include points of your nose and wrists. This is usually a painless treatment.
BOOKS, TAPES, AND VIDEOS
There are also quit smoking books, audio tapes, or videotapes to help you help yourself quit. Many of these materials have helpful guidelines on preparing to quit, tips for dealing with withdrawal symptoms, and hints for staying quit. You can find most of these self-help materials in local bookstores and libraries.
Remember: the key to quitting smoking is YOU. There is no magic cure and no one method will work for everybody. But with motivation, commitment, and a plan, you can find the right method for you.
ABOUT THE SMOKER'S QUITLINE
The Smoker's Quitline provides the following services.
1. Information about quitting.
2. Individual support to help you quit and stay quit.
3. Referrals to quit smoking programs in your local area.
4. Self-help materials.
The Quitline can also provide you with facts about the health risks of smoking, the benefits of quitting, and suggestions for reducing the risk fo secondhand smoke to those around you.
All services are free, and are available by telephone.
You can speak with us from your home, at your convenience, during the day and evening hours.
Smoker's Quitline - 1-800-TRY-TO-STOP (1-800-8678)
Spanish/Portuguese: - 1-800-8-DEJALO ( 1-800-833-5256)
Translation services available for other languages.
TTY: 1-800-833-1477 (for the hearing impared)
For 24 hour motivational messages Quit Tips Line
On the web: