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If you have ever tried to quit smoking, you probably know how difficult it can be. Within 5 seconds of taking a puff of smoke, nicotine travels directly to the brain. It tells the brain to release chemicals that make you want to smoke more. Quitting is hard. Usually people make 5 to 7 attempts or more before they are finally able to quit. Studies have shown that each time you try to quit, you will be stronger and will have learned more about what made you slip. Anyone can quit smoking if they set their heart to it and. It does not matter about age, health, or lifestyle. Having a quit plan is important and the support of others is also an important ingredient. The first step in quitting is to pick a quit date, decide a plan on how you are going to quit, keep a positive attitude and go for it!

The most common smoking cessation methods are:

Cold Turkey:

If you're a pack-a-day smoker, this means going from 20 to 0 cigarettes in the matter of a day. With the "cold turkey" method, you completely stop your smoking all at once, relying on your will power to fight your nicotine addiction.

Gradual Reduction:

A slow gradual reduction in the number of cigarettes you smoke over time is a method that many people try. Methods include smoking only half the cigarette, waiting an hour longer each day before lighting up your first cigarette or smoking only during odd or even hours. Although you are weaning yourself from addiction, you are still prolonging your exposure to the cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy:NRT

These products replace some of the nicotine that you used to get from smoking. Nicotine replacement is used to wean you off nicotine by replacing the very high concentrations of nicotine you get from smoking with much lower doses delivered more slowly. It is a means of delivering nicotine without the harmful tar, gases and other elements of smoking. NRT reduces the cravings for cigarettes and the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting. NRT is the most throughly researched method and tests have shown that, used correctly, it will double your chance of success - which is good news for those who have found withdrawal very hard on previous attempts. If you smoke your first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking, then you are more likely to benefit from NRT.

To check you are using NRT properly, always follow the manufacturers' instructions. Ask your pharmacist or doctor if you are not sure. NRT is much safer than smoking but if you have a medical condition, any health worries or are pregnant, it is important that you talk to your pharmacist /doctor first.

There are several forms of nicotine replacement available - patches, gum, lozenge, nasal spray, inhalator and lolipops. All of these products are available on NHS prescription. In addition, it is possible to purchase them from pharmacists and some are available from supermarkets and other retail outlets. Many of these products offer programmes of support to help smokers through the quitting process.

The patch gives you a continual supply of nicotine at a low dose while you are wearing it - so you can't respond quickly to a craving or a stressful moment. The gum and the spray deliver a higher dose quickly so you can respond to a craving with a "quick fix", as with cigarettes. If you smoke steadily through the day, the patch may suit you better. If you smoke mainly in response to cravings or stress, the gum or spray might be more flexible for you. One study has compared the effectiveness of gum, patch, spray and inhalator and found that they are similarly effective.

Patches, Gum, Nasal Spray ,Inhaler


Zyban is an anti-smoking pill that seems to reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms and the urge to smoke, and it contains no nicotine. The action of the drug is still not fully understood, but it seems to have an effect on the chemicals in the brain associated with nicotine addiction (which include beta-endorphins, acetylcholine, dopamine and norepinephrine).

Low-Level Laser Therapy:

Low-level laser therapy utilizes principles similar to the ancient healing art of acupuncture - a technique of inserting and gently stimulating hair-thin needles into specific points of the body to trigger a natural healing response. Low-level lasers simulate a very similar response by emitting a fine-point "cold laser" into your skin which stimulates your body's endorphin production system. Endorphins are natural chemicals in your body that signal your internal system to decrease stress and increase energy. Consistent absorption of nicotine into your body through cigarette smoking soon allows nicotine to take over and control your body's endorphin reproduction system. By naturally restoring your body's endorphin levels through low-level laser therapy, laser intervention can then remove the hold that nicotine has on your system.


Hypnosis may be very beneficial to assist in quitting smoking. The good news is that we learned that hypnosis can be highly effective for smoking cessation; research shows that when done correctly the success rate is slightly above 66%. Compare that to the success rates of trying to quit on your own: 5%, using behavior therapy 25%, or using Nicotine Replacement Products, 25% and hypnosis looks like the best option out there. In fact, there is no other method supported by research that even comes close.


Acupuncture is a healing technique derived from ancient Chinese medicine. As with hypnosis, acupuncture works for those with a strong desire to quit.

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Updated February 2019