If you or a loved one is trying to kick a smoking habit, there are a number of great ways to begin this process. While all of the methods require some amount of self-control and discipline, there benefits of quitting easily outweigh the many health risks. It's a good idea to talk with a doctor regarding a smoking habit to determine which smoking cessation technique is best for you.
Health Risks of Smoking
Studies show that a person who smokes has higher stress levels compared to someone who does not. Smoking also damages the respiratory system almost immediately, causing irritability that can lead to increased phlegm production and a persistent cough. Smoking decreases a person’s endurance and physical performance, as well. The CDC stresses that a person who smokes has a higher risk of stroke, diabetes, coronary heart disease, hip fractures, decreased immune functions, and overall diminished health.
Smoking Cessation Techniques
- OTC Medications
Most doctors agree that the use of medicine is one of the best ways to quit smoking. There are many different methods available, including patches, gum, and sprays. These are all over-the-counter methods that are based on how much a person smokes. These are also some of the most common nicotine replacement therapies available. The way they work is by satisfying the cravings for nicotine and lessening a person’s desire to smoke. They also help with withdrawal symptoms that might be associated with smoking.
Patches are the most common form of OTC medication used. They're applied directly to the skin, giving the users steady a amount of nicotine through the day. It is a good way to reduce the cravings without interfering with your daily life. The patch can also be very discreet. However, there’s a chance that the person might be allergic to the patches. It might also be important to talk to adoctor to figure out which strength is best. There may also side effects involved, such as abnormal dreams, redness or itching, and trouble sleeping.
- Prescription Medications
If OTC options aren’t working, there are medications that can be prescribed by a doctor that could also help. Two such medicines are varenicline (Chantix) or bupropion (Zyban). Both of these medicines are taken orally. Bupropion cuts down the cravings, but can also be used alongside nicotine patches. Bupropion can have side effects such as problem sleeping and dry mouth. It’s also used as a depression medicine, so it’s important to note that if a person is having any changes in behavior, such as anger, agitation, depression, or thoughts of suicide, he or she should quit taking the medicine immediately.
Varenicline works differently than bupropion, as it will reduce the cravings and also have an affect on the brain. Basically, if a person starts smoking after taking this medication, he or she will not get as much pleasure from smoking as before. Most people tolerate this medicine quite well, and side effects are not common. They include: headaches, trouble sleeping, abnormal dreams, nausea, and depressed mood. Both pill methods also require a doctor’s supervision. Ask a doctor before beginning any medication to make sure it’s right for you.