Quit Smoking Products
When looking for products that will help you stop smoking cigarettes, it is important to know their strengths and weaknesses. It is also important to remember that smokers that attempt to quit without any type of quit smoking product will have a less than 10% chance of success. For every twenty people that decide to quit smoking without the help of a quit smoking product, only one will be successful.
It is also important to remember that quit smoking products are designed to help the smoker break the physical addiction to smoking. Any quit smoking product used needs to be paired with techniques that will assist the smoker break the psychological habit of smoking, too.
Summary of Quit Smoking Products
There are many types of quit smoking products available. Some are prescription based and some are not. The goal of these products is to reduce the nicotine cravings - that "need" for a cigarette - and to ease withdrawal symptoms that come from breaking the physical addiction to nicotine. These products can be divided into three categories: nicotine replacement products, prescription medications, and herbal supplements.
Quit Smoking Products Ingredients
Quit smoking products are often called nicotine replacement products. Some of these are quit smoking products that utilize small amounts of nicotine to help your body resist the urge to smoke a cigarette.
- Nicotine Patch. This is a patch that you stick on your arm. It slowly releases nicotine to help prevent cravings. While it is available without a prescription, it will not help with sudden cravings or withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, it may need to be used with a second quit smoking product. Side effects generally involve skin irritation at the site where the patch was applied. Typical use is for eight to 12 weeks.
- Nicotine Gum. This quit smoking product is available in two different doses and does not require a prescription from a doctor. It is designed to take the edge off of cravings or withdrawal symptoms, but it won't make them go away. Much like the patch, it is often necessary to use a second quit smoking product. It is important to understand that nicotine gum cannot be chewed like regular gum, and that side effects include soreness of the mouth, nausea, and upset stomach. The gum is recommended for up to 12 weeks.
- Nicotine Lozenges. These are small tablets that are placed between the gum and the cheek and allow the nicotine in the tablet to be absorbed through the inside of your cheek. Available without a prescription, you can use up to 20 lozenges a day. However, much like the gum, they usually need to be paired with another quit smoking product because they will only take the edge off of sudden cravings and withdrawals. The side effects are similar to the gum and use is recommended for up to 12 weeks.
- Nicotine Nasal Spray. This is a nasal spray that delivers nicotine into your bloodstream through you nose. It can be used one to three times an hour. The spray is short acting, so it is often paired with other quit smoking products. While it works faster than the gum or lozenges, it is only available by prescription. It can also cause irritation in the nose, sinuses, and throat. Recommended use between three and six months.
Other stop smoking products don't have any nicotine in them:
- Bupropion (Zyban). This is a prescription medication that is taken twice daily. It is classified as an anti-depressant and is believed to alter brain chemistry in a way that helps prevent nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Generally, a smoker must take two pills a day for about a week before the medicine begins to work. Side effects include insomnia, headaches, agitation, and you must remember to take the medicine two times a day. It is generally used for 12 weeks. It is important to note that Bupropion comes with a black box warning - the strongest FDA safety warning - because of serious mental health problems that have occurred among patients while they were taking or after they finished taking Bupropion. These included suicidal thoughts or behavior, hostility, and depression.
- Varenicline (Chantix). Also a prescription medication that not only helps reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, it also prevents nicotine from reacting with the sensors in the brain. It is a pill taken twice daily, and similar to Zyban, it must be taken for several days before it begins to work. Like Zyban, it also comes with a black box warning for suicidal thoughts or behavior, hostility, and depression.
- Herbal Supplements. These are all natural quit smoking products that don't require a prescription. Unlike nicotine replacement products, when used for the recommended amount of time, they are not habit forming. They don't require a visit to the doctor's office, and they don't come with the black label warnings that prescription medications do. Even better, the natural ingredients may come with other, positive, side effects. For example, some supplements use peppermint leaf which may be a potential anti-cancer agent.
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