Whether one smokes a pack a day or a mere couple of cigarettes, the success rates for those who attempt to quit are not reassuring. According to the American Cancer Society, a mere 7% of adult smokers will quit smoking completely after their first try. That statistic puts nicotine right up there with alcohol, cocaine and even heroin when it comes the sheer force of the addiction. And with an estimated 19% of all U.S. adults smoking cigarettes on a regular basis, according to the CDC, it is a problem with which many can relate. The trick is in knowing how to quit effectively.
The truth is that for all the smoking cessation methods and products out there, there are only two basic categories to quitting smoking: medication therapies and non-medication therapies. Within these two groups are a number of tactics the habitual smoker can implement to up his or her chances of kicking the habit for good.
Those smokers who are adverse to prescription or over-the-counter medications may just find success with certain non-medication methods. There are a few therapies out there that have proven successful, and these include:
Hypnosis – This therapeutic method of suggestion aims to curb smoking at the subconscious level, and it has proven results. In fact, one study conducted by the San Francisco VA Medical Center suggests hypnotherapy is effective at helping smokers stay off cigarettes for over a year or longer when combined with other forms of therapies, such as behavioral therapy.
Behavioral Therapy – Those who are interested in quitting for good may want to add this method to their stop-smoking arsenal. The crucial way in which behavioral therapy can be of use is that it is effective in building the coping skills necessary to break bad habits and avoid mental triggers.
Acupuncture – Another alternative stop-smoking tactic that has been gaining traction in recent years is acupuncture. Experts point to the fact that this method works by triggering the release of endorphins, thus causing the body to relax. And as any smoker knows, stress is one of the biggest relapse triggers.
Exercise and Diet Management – Everyone knows that exercise is also effective at releasing endorphins. So, to this end, keeping a regular exercise routine can help maintain a relaxed state and stave off those cravings. Maintaining a healthy diet is also essential, as former smokers tend to put on between 3-5 pounds, on average, during the quitting process.
There are many over and under-the-counter smoking-cessation aids on offer from the pharmaceutical industry.
Gum/The Patch – According to medical research, nicotine replacement therapies, such as gum and the patch, up the quit-rate range to between 19%-26%.
Zyban – This is a prescription medication originally intended to treat depression. However, it was found to be highly effective as a method for helping habitual smokers quit the habit. Studies show that over the course of three months, smokers’ chances of success increased to 30%.
Chantix – This drug works by inhibiting the nicotine receptors in the brain. Because this drug was designed strictly to help smokers quit the habit, it has proven more successful than Zyban, having a 44% success rate.
What all smokers should take away from this article is the notion of staying the course. Almost all adult smokers require multiple tries before they are able to kick the habit for good. Those who do fall off the horse mustn’t get discouraged; the most important thing is to rise again after each and every slip.