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Stop Smoking

Stop Smoking symptoms, medication & treatment online

Did you know that approximately 66% of smokers want to quit? Thankfully, there are a variety of techniques and treatments that can be tried, depending on what best suits your situation and habit.

It's important to remember that quitting will take time and effort — it wouldn't be an addiction otherwise. At HealthExpress, we provide prescription treatment for smoking cessation. This should be taken with a doctor's advice and only once all non-prescription options have been exhausted. More information can be found below.

Medically reviewed by
Dr. Sarah Donald MRCGP DFSRH DPD DRCOG Written by our editorial team
Last reviewed 17-11-2021

Available Treatment(s)

Zyban 5(23 Reviews)
  • Reduces cravings
  • Alleviates withdrawal symptoms
  • Nicotine-free
Prices start from £74.99 Prices and product information

More information about Stop Smoking

Why is smoking bad for you?

Smoking and the use of tobacco products are directly linked to long-term health conditions and terminal illnesses. This is due to the many toxic substances found in smoke. Cigarettes contain the highly addictive nicotine, but also more than 4,000 different chemicals, with over 60 of them having been proven to cause cancer.

Living smoke-free reduces your chance of developing the following health problems:

  • lung cancer
  • liver cancer
  • throat and mouth cancer
  • bladder cancer
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • heart disease and stroke
  • erectile dysfunction
  • cervical cancer
  • infertility
  • high blood pressure
  • kidney failure
  • lung disease

Less severe, day-to-day effects of smoking include:

  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • hoarseness
  • persistent coughing
  • unexplained weight loss
  • bad breath
  • stained teeth and nails

It is likely you will experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms when quitting smoking, especially in the first 8 weeks. However, these can be easily alleviated with the right support.

Due to the loss of nicotine from your system, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • headaches
  • mood swings
  • stress
  • common cold symptoms
  • irritability
  • fatigue
  • weight gain

Above all, you will initially experience intense cravings for nicotine. However, it is important to remember all withdrawal symptoms are temporary.

What is the effect of nicotine on the body?

Nicotine is the most commonly known chemical in a cigarette and is the reason why the habit is so addictive. Nicotine addiction is harmful in many ways, as it alters the user’s brain chemistry to perceive tobacco as beneficial. It does this by encouraging the release of dopamine, the “happy hormone”. The user will want to replicate this feeling with future tobacco use.

Nicotine also increases your heart rate, your breathing and affects blood pressure.

Effects of nicotine on the body

What are the benefits of quitting smoking?

Did you know that 85% of cigarette smoke is invisible? The fumes can affect you, your friends and family. Here are some of the benefits that come with quitting:

  • clearer skin - stopping smoking can reverse the damaging effects it has on the skin
  • improved sense of smell and taste - allowing you to properly enjoy the taste of food and drink without the bitterness of tobacco in your mouth
  • oral hygiene - oral health will also improve as smoking can often lead to bad breath, stained teeth and gum disease
  • improved cardiovascular health - you will enjoy improved breathing and heart and circulatory condition
  • an enhanced complexion
  • improved senses
  • better hygiene
  • improved fitness

Most importantly, the chance of developing life-threatening conditions associated with smoking is drastically reduced.

For others

When quitting smoking, your health will improve, but there are also benefits for those around you:

  • the quality of air will improve, making for a pleasant environment and clean smelling fabrics
  • children, babies, and those vulnerable to cigarette smoke will have a reduced chance of developing respiratory diseases
  • the chance of non-smokers becoming smokers themselves will be reduced

How do I stop smoking?

There are several methods of stopping smoking - you might have to experiment with them to discover the best for you.

Methods to quit smoking

Prescription treatment

Prescription medication has been shown to be the most effective treatment for smoking cessation.

Champix (containing the active ingredient varenicline) is a prescription medicine that helps you quit smoking. It can do this in two ways. One way is to set a quit date before you start the treatment, preferably one-two weeks after the first day of the course. The other is to pick a quit date after you started the course.

Always take the medicine as prescribed by your doctor. Champix is approved by the NHS and FDA. This medicine has to be prescribed by a doctor as some users may experience side effects.

Another smoking cessation prescription medication (containing the ingredient bupropion) is Zyban. When prescribed for smoking cessation, It works by reducing withdrawal symptoms, helping you to stay smoke-free for longer.

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

The most common method of treatment, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), is available over-the-counter. Options are available as pills, patches, gum, pouches, inhalers and nasal sprays.

Despite the exposure and availability, these are not proven to be the most successful. The relapse rate is also very high with many users returning to smoking. Counseling and therapy is another method that can be explored.

Chance of relapse is mainly due to the individual's mindset, so it is imperative you are motivated to quit. Before quitting, it can help to:

  • have a conversation with your doctor; agree on a date to quit smoking
  • track your progress with a journal
  • make lifestyle changes, such as spending less time around smokers and avoiding environments that encourage smoking

E-Cigarettes

As e-cigarettes, or “vapes”, are a fairly new invention, the effect they have on smokers is yet to be thoroughly monitored. However, they are considered a useful aid in quitting smoking. You should speak to a medical professional for more information.

Cold turkey

In rare instances, you can quit smoking cold turkey. Whilst it is possible to give up on the spot, the majority of smokers stand a more realistic chance of quitting with additional help and a plan. It is important to be in the right frame of mind to quit; commitment and dedication is essential.

How long does it take to quit smoking?

Quitting smoking has near-immediate health benefits. Here is what happens when you stop smoking:

Stop smoking

For the years after, your risk of stroke and smoking-related cancers will continue to decrease.

The more help and support you have available to you, the easier it is to stop. You should focus on a long-term plan. Champix is estimated to take 12 weeks, and other methods of quitting usually take some time too, especially as an addiction can be hard to overcome.

It is advised to first consult your doctor, even when you plan to quit without medication. They can provide you with information, tips and can guide you through the process.

What treatments are available from HealthExpress?

HealthExpress offers the clinically proven medication Champix that comes in a 12-week course.

Champix does not contain nicotine and works by reducing the withdrawal symptoms that can make giving up smoking so hard; effectively doing the hardest job for you.

We also offer the medication, Zyban. Zyban contains the active ingredient bupropion, which also reduces withdrawal symptoms.

If you are unsure which medication is right for you, speak to your doctor. Alternatively, you can read each dedicated page for information on effects, mechanism of action, side effects and more.

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