With so much information online to quit smoking, how do you decide which method is best to quit smoking. Maybe science can help…
1. Financial incentives
If you are at risk of losing a lot of money maybe this method will be good or you. A new study that was run in the New England Journal of Medicine showed promising results for the 2500 people enrolled…
The most successful program was one in which a person deposited $150 first. The person would get that plus $650 more if they successfully refrained from smoking. People in that program also got advice on quitting, access to a free counseling program and were offered nicotine-replacement therapy like gum or the patch. Of those people, 52.3% quit.
The next biggest group to quit, got an $800 incentive (without having to put down a deposit) and the other resources. Only 17.1% were successful with the larger payout but no potential loss of their own money.
2. Cold turkey
Only the most disciplined can quit this way with studies showing success rates of 4-7%. It works better if you are better prepared mentally and have a strong will to quit.
The folks at Quit Smoking Community.org suggest you drink water when the cravings start. Distract yourself with something else. Maybe go for a walk or go talk to someone. Try breathing deeply and slowly and think it though. It’ll be tough, but the feelings will pass.
3. Find company
Love can help you through, according to a recent study that ran in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
Just less than half of the men in that study were successful in their attempt to quit if their partner also quit, compared to 8% success if their partner did not stop. Similarly, half of women quit if their male partners also quit smoking. Positive peer pressure seems to help.
4. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
NRTs can help reduce cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and slowly wean you off nicotine. Common NRTs are nicotine patches, gums, lozenges, mouth and nazal sprays.
A scientific literature review that looked at more than 150 different tests of these devices (accounting for more than 50,000 people) showed that the likelihood someone would quit when using them increased by 50-70%. No one method seemed to work better than the other, nor did these devices work any better (or worse) with counseling.
Heavy smokers may need to use these products more often than light smokers.
5. Prescription drugs
Talk to your doctor if you want to take the prescription route, but there are some drugs that seem to have some success, especially if used with an NRT. In addition to drugs like bupropion, there’s something called varenicline, also known by the brand name Chantix. This works by targeting the nicotine receptors in your brain. That means you don’t get as much pleasure from smoking and it lowers your feelings of withdrawal. Some studies have shown taking this drug can more than double your chances of quitting compared to taking no drugs at all.
The jury is still out on this method.
In 2014, a study that ran in the British journal the Lancetfound of the 657 people trying to quit over a period of six months, e-cigarettes did help about 7.3% to quit. That was more than the 5.8% of the people in the study who used a patch. What stood out most to the study’s authors was that so few the people were successful quitting using any method. They concluded more research is urgently needed.
Another group that presented their research at the American Thoracic Society Conference this month found that while some people did quit using e-cigarettes rather than regular cigarettes, they didn’t necessarily quit for good.
Looking at more than a thousand people who wanted to quit, the authors found those who had more success quitting in the short term used e-cigarettes, but this effect was no longer observed at three- or six-month follow ups
Quitting smoking is considered one of the hardest bad health habits to break. The American Cancer Society cautions, “The truth is that quit smoking programs, like other programs that treat addictions, often have fairly low success rates. But that doesn’t mean they’re not worthwhile or that you should be discouraged.”
I think some quit methods can have a placebo effect. If you can cut out the placebo and isolate the cause that contributes the most to quitting smoking, that is the key. So, to deal with the mindset around smoking and quitting and breaking those old mental habits to replace them with better ones so you can quit smoking, and stay quit
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