How to stop smoking
Whatever your reason for wanting to stop smoking, it’s a good one.
Want to feel better?
Don’t want to end up with cancer, heart disease or lung disease?
Or pass on second-hand smoke to your loved ones?
All good reasons. If only it were that easy and that the Internet wasn’t full of misinformation.
Good thing then that I’ve compiled a list of evidence-based products proven to help you stop smoking! If it’s not on the list, the only thing it’s proven to do is to hurt your bank account for no good reason.
The general idea here is to get your fix of the addictive chemical in cigarettes, nicotine, without the other crap that’s trying to ruin you.
First on the list because it’s almost twice as effective as other non-prescription products (eg. Patches, gum) in helping you quit smoking.
A vape, also known as an e-cigarette, is an electronic device through which you inhale nicotine in a flavoured vapour.
It doesn’t contain all the cancer-causing chemicals that cigarettes do.
They’re great because they still get the hand-to-mouth action and kick in the throat that a lot of smokers crave even after they quit.
There are lots of myths about vaping being unsafe - click here to debunk them.
You generally keep vaping until you feel you can slowly quit that too.
To be safe, it’s very important to buy vapes from a reputable store – we have you covered.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
Like vaping, you get your nicotine without the other chemicals found in cigarettes.
They come as patches, chewing gum tablets, lozenges, nasal sprays, inhalators, mouth sprays, etcetera.
Patches release nicotine slowly and the other options release nicotine faster.
There is no evidence that one type of NRT is better than the other.
But there IS evidence that combining NRT is better than using just one type.
Combine a patch with a faster-acting NRT like gum, nasal spray or inhalator for the best results
Side effects may include: skin irritation on patches, nose/throat/eye irritation on nasal sprays, insomnia, vivid dreams, tummy upset, headaches, dizziness.
Side effects are often mild and get better if you reduce the dose of NRT, but if they’re bothering you then call your doctor for advice.
NRT is generally used for 8-12 weeks before you slow down and stop. Always check the box.
These medications can be very useful, but you’ll need to see your doctor to get them. They will assess you to ensure that the medication suits you and that you’re safe to give it a try.
This drug works by reducing cravings for nicotine and blocking the feeling of reward you get from smoking.
Most people take varenicline for 12 weeks.
You decide on a date in the second week of treatment and stop smoking completely then.
Side effects may include: nausea, insomnia, vivid dreams, mood changes.
Originally used to treat depression, it also helps people stop smoking, although we’re not sure exactly how.
Most people take bupropion for 7-9 weeks.
You decide on a date in the first or second week of treatment and stop smoking completely then.
This drug is not suitable if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, under 18, or if you have epilepsy, bipolar disorder or eating disorders.
Side effects may include: dry mouth, insomnia, nausea, headaches, constipation, trouble concentrating, dizziness.
Here are some other resources you can use to stop smoking.
Self-help books. While the evidence isn’t that strong, they have been shown to help more than no intervention at all. They might help some people, might not help others, but there’s no harm giving it a go if it sounds up your street.
Support groups. Whether in-person or on the Internet, there are always support groups to help you through this challenging journey.
Quitting tips. Give these a go!