There are a lot of ways that smokers can kick the habit, either by prescription or non-prescription. And other than cold turkey, most of these require using some type of nicotine replacement or an alternative nicotine delivery system like gum, the patch or lozenges.
But if you’re a heavy smoker like I was, or you’ve smoked for a long time, like I did – 35 years in fact – you may need a different way to quit smoking.
For me, I was addicted to the sensation of smoking, that inhale that gives you the “throat hit” that none of the popular or suggested products on the market will give you, because they all just want you to quit – period.
And if you’re just not ready to quit or you’re having a hard time with the withdraw symptoms, a lot of organizations, product manufacturers, and even your friends and family just tell you to stick it out and it’ll get easier.
That’s not always the case! And it’s the reason why a lot of smokers might quit and go right back to smoking anyway.
What are some of the most used ways for people to quit?
The Cold Turkey Method
My brother did this, bless his heart. He just stopped smoking and started chewing gum. Not nicotine gum either, just regular chewing gum. A lot of smokers quit this way. But it’s still a tough way to quit for a lot of smokers.
I was told once by a former heroin addict that the withdraw symptoms I would get every time I tried to quit cold turkey were exactly what he went through when he quit drugs! That’s been backed by some medical studies too, so it wasn’t just me; it wasn’t just all in my head.
Many smokers, like me, aren’t able to go cold turkey with a smile and a shrug, and we end up going back to smoking eventually to get rid of the withdraw symptoms.
Gradual Stepping Down of Nicotine
A lot of smokers use NRT, or nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking. And it’s a good option, especially for smokers who aren’t addicted to the physical habit of smoking.
If they have some good support and are able to change their physical routines and habits, quitting this way isn’t too bad. If they’re disciplined enough, they can quit smoking without a problem just by using nicotine gum, lozenges or the patch.
Using Prescription Drugs
Doctors often prescribe either Chantix or Wellbutrin to smokers who want or need to quit nicotine almost immediately. The drugs work in the brain to offset the chemical addiction to nicotine.
Smokers pretty much can quit “cold turkey” after using the drugs for a week, and the prescriptions are supposed to help control the withdraw symptoms of quitting.
I say “supposed to” because they do have some side effects that preclude some people from using them.
For instance, I ended being “allergic” to Wellbutrin and suffered severe psychotic effects from the drug after just one dose. My doctor had to prescribe a sedative to counteract the effects of Wellbutrin, while my husband ran out and got me a fresh pack of cigarettes.
I finally did quit my 35-year smoking habit using Chantix. I was fortunate that I didn’t suffer from any adverse side effects until after I’d gone through the whole 120 days of therapy. That’s when the adverse effects kicked in and I had to use another prescription drug to offset the severe anxiety and mood swings.
Breaking the Physical Habit of Smoking
If you’re a hard-core or long-term heavy smoker, breaking the physical habit of smoking can be almost as hard, if not harder, than withdrawing from nicotine. It’s often the reason why smokers who quit eventually go back to smoking.
The sensation of inhaling and exhaling the smoke is a habit that some smokers just can’t get over. And when they’re using some form of nicotine replacement therapy that doesn’t include the feeling of smoking, they’re not really able to quit.
That’s where the invention of electronic cigarettes is a lifesaver to a lot of smokers!
Do Electronic Cigarettes Have Nicotine?
Even though manufacturers and retailers of electronic cigarettes aren’t allowed to advertise their products as quit-smoking or nicotine replacement products, many smokers are turning to them anyway to do just that – quit the nicotine.
Ecigs actually are a form of a nicotine delivery system. Just like with lozenges or gum, you’re getting liquid nicotine, but with ecigarettes, you’re inhaling the liquid nicotine in a vapor.
Since you can get the eJuice in levels of 2.4% down to 0% nicotine, smokers can use ecigs to gradually reduce the amount of nicotine they’re getting – much like the levels of the patch – but it’s inhaled, allowing the smoker to quit the addiction of nicotine while still enjoying the sensation of smoking.
Remember, a lot smokers won’t quit because plainly put – they just enjoy the smoking experience!
But with electronic cigarettes, smokers who may need to quit or want to quit the nicotine habit can do it a lot easier than cold turkey or using another drug!