According to the CDC, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. today – An estimated 43.8 million people, 19% of all adults 18 and over, smoke. Of those 43.8 million people, approximately 70% have expressed the desire to quit for good.
Quitting smoking is a difficult undertaking – Today, however, those who want to quit have a variety of options to choose from. You could try quitting cold turkey, use a nicotine patch or spray, take a non-nicotine prescription medication or undergo hypnosis. There is no shortage of methods designed to help you quit smoking and start living a healthier life. If you’re ready to quit smoking, there is sure to be a method that will work for you. Let’s take a look at some of those options:
Cold Turkey/Gradual Reduction: These are two of the most common and inexpensive methods for quitting smoking – While “going cold turkey” requires you to stop smoking all together, gradual reduction allows you to step down your nicotine dosage gradually. Both methods require advance planning and outside support to help you stay on track and stick to your goals.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT): NRT includes the use of nicotine patches, gum, spray, lozenges and inhalers. Many of these options are available over the counter, but some, like nicotine inhalers, do require a doctor’s prescription to obtain. All of these methods allow flexible dosing designed to help you gradually break your nicotine addiction with the delivery of nicotine into your system faster for some than others making certain options ideal for helping curb sudden cravings. NRT options can cost quitters anywhere from $40 to $100 per week depending on the method chosen.
Non-nicotine, Prescription Medication: Non-nicotine medications like Zyban or Chantix must be prescribed by a doctor – These medicines target brain chemicals to help you quit smoking and, often, can be used in conjunction with another quitting method, like the patch. Non-nicotine medications can cost upwards of $30-$40 per week.
Alternative Methods: Hypnosis and acupuncture have been known to help people quit smoking – Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese therapy, can help regulate energy flow in the body to restore health. Hypnosis is a state of focused concentration induced by the use of therapeutic suggestion. Both of these tend to work best when used in conjunction with another method.
Regardless of what method you choose to quit, it’s imperative that you talk with friends, family and/or your doctor and put together written plan that can help you stay on track. You may also wish to join a support or group program that can help you focus on changing your behaviors.
If you’re ready to quit smoking, we’re here to help. You can learn more about the different methods for quitting with our Quitting Your Way handout or you can contact Director of Tobacco and Health Programs, Mary Ann Valasek, with Breathe Pennsylvania for more information.