Smoking is proven to be one of the most common causes of preventable death globally. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) smokers are likely to die ten years earlier than non-smokers. Many people who smoke desire to stop due to the health risks, but the addictive nature of nicotine can make quitting very daunting.
Why Quit Smoking?
The health benefits of giving up smoking are immense. The heart rate and blood pressure normalize within one hour of the last cigarette, and within 12 hours, the toxic carbon monoxide from smoking is cleansed from the body. Within 3 days of quitting, one’s sense of taste and smell improves. It may take a few months to years for the lung function to return to normal and the risk of diseases, such as cancer and heart attack to become equal to that of a non-smoker.
What’s more, quitting smoking can help save money, improve overall wellbeing, and help a person look and smell better.
How to Quit Smoking?
With a solid plan and help from experts, it is possible to beat the cravings and quit smoking. While some people quit smoking “cold turkey”, others quit gradually. No matter what route one takes, it is important to stay motivated. Some ways to make quitting easier include:
Varenicline, often prescribed to our pharmacy customers, is considered a first-line treatment that effectively helps people quit smoking. It blocks nicotine receptors in the brain and causes the release of dopamine, the “happy hormone”. This helps reduce cravings and alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Bupropion is another drug used to achieve similar outcomes, but, according to recent study results, varenicline is more effective.
E-cigarettes and nicotine replacement therapy
Both e-cigarettes and nicotine replacement therapy are intended to provide a person with nicotine without the additional harmful chemicals present in a cigarette. This can help ease cravings and withdrawal symptoms. With time, nicotine dosage is reduced until the cravings diminish.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is very useful in getting rid of habits. Studies show that counseling and CBT can help people quit and reduce the risk of relapse.
While quitting smoking is difficult, it is one of the best decisions a person can take for his/her health. Those wishing to quit should devise an individualized plan (which may involve one or more of the different methods to quit smoking) and seek expert help to make the process easier.