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Quitting The Habit - How To Choose The Right Method?

By Julia Martinez

Once you have made the decision to quit smoking, you should choose a method to help you overcome the habit. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, so it's a good idea to examine all of them before deciding.

No matter which method you choose, it is important to have the support and encouragement of family and friends. You can quit smoking on your own but you are more likely to succeed if you have moral support from the people around you.

For most people, the desire to smoke comes in waves. One way to deal with those waves is to pick up the phone and talk to someone who knows that you are trying to quit. This has the dual benefit of offering some distraction as well as getting encouragement in your battle against tobacco.

Ways to Quit

Cold Turkey - If you have a great deal of willpower and a strong desire to quit smoking, you may be able to do it cold turkey. Quitting cold turkey means that you simply stop -- no intermediate steps, just going from your regular habit to no smoking at all.

Certain individuals that metabolize nicotine relatively slowly are more likely to succeed by quitting cold turkey. This is because they are not as physically addicted to nicotine as other smokers are. People with a higher dependence on nicotine may find they need to use a nicotine substitute such as patches or gum.

Slowly Cutting Down - Rather than quitting cold turkey, some people prefer to gradually reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke each day. In order for this to work you need to have a plan to reduce your smoking by a certain amount each day and a goal for the day when you want to be completely smoke-free.

There are many strategies you can use. You could smoke one less cigarette each day; you could delay smoking the first cigarette of the day by a greater amount each day; or you could limit your smoking to a certain number of cigarettes within a three hour period.

Nicotine Substitutes - Either of the above methods could be supplemented with the use of a nicotine substitute like gum, spray or patches. This helps reduce the craving for nicotine which is behind the desire to smoke. The brain has become accustomed to regular doses of nicotine so by supplying the nicotine by other means quitting the habit becomes easier.

Before using a nicotine substitute consult with your doctor concerning any health risks that may be associated with it. Nicotine substitutes are available in the form of chewing gum, nasal spray, lozenges, inhalators, or tablets that are kept under the tongue. Patches can also be worn on the skin to provide a constant supply of nicotine to the bloodstream throughout the day.

Zyban - Zyban is an antidepressant drug that has been proven effective reducing nicotine withdrawal symptoms. It is available by doctor's prescription.

Hypnosis - Hypnosis has also been used to help overcome nicotine cravings. It seems to be most effective in those who have a strong desire to quit.

Acupuncture - As with hypnosis, acupuncture works best with people who are committed to quitting smoking. Both acupuncture and hypnosis may work by reinforcing the commitment to giving up smoking. There is no evidence that they are any more effective than other methods.


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