You understand the daunting task ahead of you, yet you made your decision – you want to quit smoking. Supportive friends and family members climb their rooftops and throw confetti to celebrate your zest for healthy living! You raise both arms like a champion while you shower under colored paper traditionally thrown over newlyweds.
Then you wake up in the middle of the night, sweating, craving for the smell and taste of nicotine. You convince yourself it that it is just part of the process and you are right. However, and strangely enough, you get up from bed, walk to and fro, and you ask yourself, “Would one stick of cigarette harm you?”
The desire to quit smoking and the feeling of relapsing are intense. Quitting smoking is such a tall order that long-time smokers have a hard time quitting the dangerous habit permanently.
Fortunately, you are not alone. You have your friends and family. You can also resort to various “quit-smoking products” that are out in the market. All you need is find what suits you best.
Smoking cessation products
According to a study, about 5 percent of people who try to quit smoking fail because they do not use any smoking cessation products. Smokers who quit and aided by a quit-smoking product have a higher chance of success. The same study shows that those who quit smoking and use smoking cessation products succeed 30 percent of the time.
So what are these smoking cessation products? The Mayo Clinic identified several quit-smoking products that could help smokers quit smoking for good. Bear in mind that there are two types of smoking cessation products: (1) nicotine replacement therapy and (2) non-nicotine, but prescription medication. Each type can help you reduce your craving to light that one “last” cigarette stick or even address the withdrawal syndromes while you are in your journey. Before you jump into and try each product, we suggest that you consult a doctor first to rule out any side effects.
Below we describe the products that you can purchase to make sure that you achieve your goal to a healthier life.
The Nicotine Patch
The nicotine patch is one of the more famous smoking cessation products out in the market. It is a tiny patch that releases a slow and steady amount of nicotine. The nicotine enters your body through the skin. It has an adhesive that you can patch between the neck and waist areas.
The good thing about the patch is that you do not need a prescription to get one. You can buy a nicotine patch over-the-counter of any pharmacy and use it immediately. The patch is reliable because of the gradual effect it has on nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms. You can slowly do away with the patch as your cravings for nicotine decreases as well as your withdrawal symptoms.
However, there is a slight downside to the nicotine patch. For some users, the patch causes skin allergies and it can cause rashes to where it is applied. Those suffering from skin condition may be prone to skin irritation.
Studies also show that in some users, it nicotine patches cause sleep disturbances. It is highly suggested that you remove your patch when you go to sleep.
You can use nicotine patches for 8-12 weeks. If the cravings and the withdrawal symptoms continue you may use it a little longer.
The Nicotine Gum
Next on our list is the nicotine gum. It is a chewable that contains a very small amount of nicotine to stave off your cravings. Once chewed in a specific way, the nicotine enters your body. Just like the patch, the nicotine gum is also available over the counter and you can get it without a prescription.
The gum acts fast and can quickly control your sudden cravings for nicotine. It comes with different flavors and often used with other smoking cessation products.
However, you should also be aware that you should use the nicotine gum all throughout the day. The reason for this is because the gum does not completely eliminate the cravings or the withdrawal symptoms. There is also a proper way of biting the gum to effectively work. Also in some cases, the gum might to dentures.
Usage can go as long as 12 weeks. You can use a gum every hour until the cravings and withdrawal symptoms decrease.
The Nicotine Lozenge
Just like the nicotine gum, nicotine lozenges are also taken orally. It contains small amounts of nicotine and once taken, the absorbed nicotine enters the user’s bloodstream.
The lozenges are available over the counter and do not require prescriptions. It is fast acting similar to a nicotine gum. This means that once consumed it addresses cravings and withdrawal symptoms fast. It is suggested that you use up to 20 lozenges per day and/or simultaneously with other cessation products.
There is also a downside to the use of nicotine lozenges. Similar to the first two options, you need to use nicotine lozenges throughout the day. However, and unlike the gum and the patch, nicotine lozenges could sometimes cause nausea, heartburn, hiccups, indigestion, and throat irritation.
Just like the nicotine gum and patch, the lozenges can be used up to 12 weeks and will reduce your cravings for nicotine as well as the withdrawal symptoms.
The Nicotine Inhaler
Unlike the first three options, the nicotine inhaler is available only by prescription. The inhaler gives user a small dose of nicotine. A nicotine vapor is released from a cartridge each time the user puffs the inhaler.
Similar to the first three smoking cessation products, the effect of the nicotine inhaler is fast as the inhaler produces nicotine and then enters the bloodstream. However, the nicotine vapor should not be inhaled into the user’s lungs.
The good thing about the inhaler is that the user can control the amount /dose of nicotine he/she receives. It also deals with the hand-oral fixation of habitual smokers who need to hold something to put into the mouth. It gives the illusion that the user is still smoking, but it in a much safer environment.
However, the nicotine inhaler also has some disadvantages. The most common side effects of using a nicotine inhaler are coughing and irritation of the mouth or throat (sometimes the irritation is harsh it could lead to throat-related diseases such as pharyngitis or laryngitis).
Smokers who plan to quit and who consider to use a nicotine inhaler are advised to consult their doctors first. It is important that you and your doctor determine if you have any lung-related illnesses, for example, asthma, that can be exacerbated by a nicotine inhaler.
You can use a minimum of six up to 16 cartridges of nicotine inhaler for 12 weeks until your cravings and withdrawal symptoms gradually dissipate.
The Nicotine Nasal Spray
The nicotine nasal spray is another prescriptive smoking cessation product. It looks something similar to asthma inhalers that except that you spray yourself with a small dose of nicotine via your nose. There is a recommended interval of one to three times of spraying your nostrils per hour.
Among the other previous smoking cessation products, the nicotine nasal spray acts faster. It is much faster than the other varieties of anti-smoking products and users can control the dosage to be used. It can also be used simultaneously with other smoking cessation products.
However, and just like the previously explained options, the nicotine nasal spray has some disadvantages, too. There is a reason why a prescription is required before you could get hold of the spray.
First, it could become very inconvenient for the user because you have to spray your nose three times every hour to control your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Second, there are side effects that could bring users discomfort. It includes sinus and throat irritation, it could make your eyes watery all the time and it could cause coughing and/or sneezing because the nicotine spray passes through your nostrils. Third, it could lead to slight dependency.
You can use the spray up to six months depending on how fast your cravings and withdrawal symptoms decrease.
The next on the list is not your usual smoking cessation product. Bupropion is a type of antidepressant medication that requires prescription. Unlike the other products described above, Bupropion is not nicotine-based. Instead of nicotine therapy, the drug releases certain chemicals to control nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
And since it is prescribed medication, extra caution should be taken to make sure that you are safe. It usually takes five to seven days before Bupropion takes effect. That means users need to take it a week in advance to get its benefits if you plan to quit soon.
However, and just like the other smoking cessation products we have described, Bupropion also has some side effects. It could lead to insomnia, agitation and headache. There is also a scary aspect about this pill. In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), issued a black box warning (it means it is serious). It is believed that Bupropion might cause mental health defects, including suicidal tendencies, user depression, or violence.
Be sure to monitor your behavior if you are taking the pill. Users are required to take two pills per day. It is generally advised that you use Bupropion for 12 weeks.
The last among our list is Varenicline. It is almost similar to Bupropion because it requires prescription. The pill works by blocking nicotine receptors in your brain, thus, reducing the pleasurable effects of smoking.
Just like Bupropion, you need to take it a week in advance because it takes several days before the pill actually takes effect. Once it has taken effect, pill intake is twice per day.
It also has some side effects. Use of Varenicline can cause nausea, fainting, skin allergies, disturbed sleep, inability to operate heavy machinery, inability to drive vehicles, and trouble with vision.
Because of these effects, the FDA gave Varenicline the same warning found with Bupropion. People with kidney problems are discouraged to use it.
If you choose to use this as one of your options to quit smoking, be sure to use it for 12 weeks.
The above products are just samples of what you can use to successfully quit smoking. To ensure your safety, make sure that you consult your doctors first before using any if not all the products listed above.
One product not mentioned was electronic cigarettes. Now Ecigs are not officially considered a Smoking Cessation product and it cannot legally be stated as one at this point in time. However from what has been seen, ecigs are a great option for people that want to get away from smoking real tobacco cigarettes. V2 electronic cigarettes and Blu Electronic Cigarettes are 2 top brands in the industry. These brands do offer discounts called V2 coupons & Blu coupons which is a plus for consumers.