What Are My Options for Quitting?

“Many smokers who contemplate quitting look upon the process as losing an old friend.
. . . but they come to learn that they are really losing an old enemy.” — Anonymous

There’s no foolproof way to stop smoking, but we knew that already. You’ll probably have to experiment with several different techniques before you stumble across one that works for you. Some of the more common methods are listed here.

Nicotine Patches

The Patch has a fairly decent track record—about 20% of people who use it have quit and remained smoke-free after six months. What Are My Options for Quitting?It has the convenience of being over-the-counter, but it’s wise to consult a doctor before you start anyway, especially if you’re pregnant. Possible side effects include skin rashes, nausea, headaches and stomach problems, and children should not come into contact with the patch at all. Most importantly, don’t smoke while using the patch! Doing so can rocket your body’s nicotine level up to toxic levels—which sort of defeats the purpose if you’re quitting for health reasons!

Nicotine Gum

Like patches, nicotine gum is available over-the-counter. Some people prefer it to the patch because chewing gum provides the oral stimulation that also comes from smoking. The goal is to have quit by the end of six months, but some ex-smokers chew it for longer periods. The taste may turn off some people.

Medication

Certain antidepressants curb nicotine cravings. Obviously, choosing to explore this route requires the involvement and consent of your doctor, who can explain the advantages and disadvantages of using medication to combat smoking.

Hypnosis

One of the big advantages of hypnosis is its non-medicinal approach—it can be combined with patches or medication without fear of unwanted physical side effects. It may prove to be what you need to quit, or it may give you enough of a push to let the more physical methods work.

Cold Turkey

Ah, the macho way to quit! Just say no! Unfortunately, only about 3% of smokers who use this method succeed. Your chances of success rise if you have a good support group, however. Using a scheduled reduction plan, where you slowly reduce cigarette consumption, has also proven itself more effective than just quitting “cold turkey.”