How to Stop Smoking
It is estimated that 90% of smokers relapse after quitting. This is because deciding to stop smoking can be difficult, and quitting permanently can be even more challenging. Depending on the chosen method, the success rate of people who have managed to stop smoking permanently is very low. This can be discouraging for people who have recently decided to quit. Before you start the process of quitting smoking, you should be aware that there are many different support networks and programs available to help. One example is the NHS, which has a dedicated free helpline available for those trying to stop smoking permanently.
There are a number of methods that are available to help an individual successfully quit smoking. For some people, choosing which method to take can be trial and error. Consequently many smokers may choose to use a variety of the methods until they find a solution that is best suited to their needs and lifestyle.
Dr Hilary Jones discusses effective ways to stop smoking
Below you can find a chart of the various different methods and their success rates. Simply click on the method for a more detailed summary of what is involved.
Smoking Comparison Chart
The phrase 'going cold turkey' describes the process of suddenly and completely giving up, without gradually easing off by reducing the number of cigarettes smoked per day. It is a very popular choice for people who want to stop smoking, perhaps because it is completely free and can be done at any time, without involving purchasing replacement therapies or medications. However, it has a very low success rate, with just 10% of people quitting permanently.
NRT is a popular option for people who do not feel confident that they will be able to stop smoking permanently by going cold turkey. NRT can come in the form of patches, chewing gum, inhalers, tablets and sprays. Most forms of NRT are available over the counter, but you also get them on prescription. Nicotine replacement therapy works by reducing the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, which are the biggest obstacle to stopping smoking effectively. The success rate for people using NRT to help them stop smoking is 17%. However, when you use nicotine replacement therapy to quit, you are still supplying your body with nicotine.
Therefore, although you are no longer digesting harmful smoke into your body, you are still supplying your body with a nicotine fix and subsequently will still crave nicotine once your NRT treatment finishes.
There are two medications currently available on prescription to help you to stop smoking. They are Zyban and Champix. They work by lessening your desire to smoke and reducing the withdrawal symptoms brought on by the drop in your nicotine intake. Champix also reduces the pleasurable effect of smoking, which will stop cigarettes seeming desirable by using the active ingredient varenicline. You are four times more likely to quit permanently using prescription treatment such as Champix, compared to attempting to go cold turkey.
More unconventional approaches to smoking cessation are techniques like acupuncture and hypnosis. Such methods are unlikely to lead to side effects, which may make them seem desirable. Hypnosis works by getting you into a deeply relaxed state where you are open to suggestions that strengthen your resolve to quit smoking and increase your negative feelings toward cigarettes. Acupuncture is believed to work by triggering the release of endorphins (natural pain relievers) that allow the body to relax as well as managing smoking withdrawal symptoms.