Quitting tobacco: Understanding your options

Hands holding a broken cigarette.

Quitting tobacco is difficult, but luckily there are many options to help you quit. Choose the option that works best for you. You may even find yourself trying multiple options before you are successful in quitting. Read on to learn about the different approaches to help you quit tobacco.

  • Cold turkey

    This means total abstinence from tobacco – the most difficult method. The nicotine withdrawal symptoms can be tough to deal with in addition to cravings and triggers. However, there are some people who find the nicotine they receive from tapering or nicotine replacement therapies to be a trigger for cravings as they delay withdrawal, and they are more confident in quitting cold turkey.

  • Tapering

    This method requires slowly weaning from tobacco over time by reducing it in small increments. If you’re thinking about using this method, try these tips:

    • Determine how many cigarettes or chews you want to eliminate from your day. For example, if you’re a pack-a-day smoker, you may want to cut out 5 cigarettes a day for a week, then 10 the next week, and so on.
    • Eliminate those you don’t really “need” or that you’re less dependent on first.
    • Replace using tobacco with new healthy behavior.
    • Keep your pack, can or pouch out of reach to avoid temptation as well as create a delay between wanting one and getting it.
  • Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs)

    NRTs help alleviates withdrawal symptoms by providing you with the nicotine, without the tobacco and harmful chemicals, so you are able to wean without experiencing major withdrawal. The most common NRTs include the patch, gum and lozenges, all of which are available without a prescription.  Two prescription NRTs include nicotine nasal spray and the nicotine inhaler. To gain a complete understanding of NRT choices, click here.

  • Medication

    There are several prescription medications available that could help you quit tobacco. Ask your doctor for options that may be suitable for you. For more information about medications that are available, click here.

  • A word on e-cigs

    They may be marketed as tools to help quit smoking, but they are not. E-cigs are not approved as an NRT and may have potential health effects.

NRTs and tobacco cessation medications are just one part of quitting. You’ll still have to learn to change your behaviors associated with tobacco use to successfully quit and stay quit.

Original source https://blog.healthadvocate.com/2020/10/quitting-tobacco-understanding-your-options-2/