Mayo Clinic: Iím 47 years old and have been a smoker since I
was 15. Iíve tried to quit more times than I can count. My
wife says I should try nicotine replacement. But that doesnít
make sense to me. I want to be done with cigarettes and
nicotine. How will putting more nicotine in my body help me
kick this addiction?
youíre trying to get rid of a cigarette habit thatís
rooted in nicotine addiction, it may seem odd to look to
nicotine for help. But nicotine replacement products are safe
and effective aids for people trying to stop smoking.
Particularly when paired with other smoking cessation
techniques, nicotine replacement often serves as a bridge to a
nicotine in cigarettes is highly addictive. Nicotine is what
hooks you on smoking and keeps you smoking. However, nicotine
is not the component in cigarettes that puts your health at
risk. The real danger is tobacco.
and tobacco smoke contain chemicals that cause lung cancer, as
well as cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus and larynx.
Using tobacco can lead to other serious health problems, too,
such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Two-thirds of all
tobacco users eventually die of a tobacco-related illness. The
sooner you stop putting tobacco into your body, the better off
you will be.
replacement products give you nicotine without tobacco. That
helps relieve the withdrawal symptoms and cravings you may
have if you try to quit smoking cigarettes without nicotine
replacement. For many, going from tobacco to nicotine
replacement is a critical and important step to a tobacco-free
replacement doesnít reinforce a cigarette habit the way
tobacco does. You donít get as much nicotine with nicotine
replacement as you do with tobacco products, and nicotine
replacement makes it significantly less likely that you will
return to tobacco. Not using nicotine replacement reduces your
chances of breaking free from tobacco.
of nicotine replacement products are available without a
prescription. You can buy nicotine gum, patches and lozenges
at most pharmacies and drug stores. Nicotine nasal spray and
inhalers are available by prescription only.
nicotine replacement can be useful as you quit smoking,
breaking a smoking habit is still hard, especially if you try
to do it on your own. The best way to quit is to seek help
from your doctor or a counselor trained as a tobacco treatment
specialist. He or she can help you decide on the overall
approach thatís best for you.
example, along with nicotine replacement, other prescription
medications may be helpful. Bupropion can help control
nicotine cravings. Varenicline can reduce the pleasurable
effects of smoking and lessen nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
health care providers also recommend behavioral therapy in
addition to medication. Behavioral therapy often involves
replacing old behaviors with new routines that arenít
associated with smoking.
example, avoid places where you usually smoke. Instead, when
you go out, visit places where smoking isnít allowed. Try to
spend time with people who donít smoke or also want to stop
smoking. Make it inconvenient to smoke by getting rid of your
cigarettes. Chew gum while you drive, or take new routes to
your usual destinations to keep your attention focused on your
environment and away from smoking. If you usually have a
cigarette with a cup of coffee or alcohol, drink water, soda
or tea instead.
replacement can be an integral step on the path to life
without tobacco. But, to give yourself the best chance to stop
smoking for good, seek help from a medical professional
familiar with tobacco treatment. The effort will be well worth
it, as the health benefits of not smoking are substantial, and
they start accumulating almost immediately after you quit.