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Cigarette Smoking: Health Risks and How to Quit (PDQ®): Prevention - Patient Information [NCI] - Health Risks of Smoking and Ways to Quit

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Nicotine replacement products can cause problems in some people, especially:

Other medicines that do not have nicotine in them are used to help people quit smoking. These include:

These medicines lessen nicotine craving and nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

It is important to know that bupropion and varenicline may cause serious psychiatric problems. Symptoms include:

Before starting to take bupropion or varenicline, talk to your doctor about the important health benefits of quitting smoking and the small but serious risk of problems with the use of these drugs.

Varenicline may also cause serious heart problems.

Smoking reduction

When smokers do not quit smoking completely but smoke fewer cigarettes (smoking reduction). they may still benefit. The more you smoke, the higher your risk of lung cancer and other cancers related to smoking. Studies show that smokers who cut back are more likely to stop smoking in the future.

Smoking less is not as helpful as quitting smoking altogether, and is harmful if you inhale more deeply or smoke more of each cigarette to try to control nicotine cravings. In smokers who do not plan to quit smoking completely, nicotine replacement products have been shown to help them cut down the number of cigarettes they smoke, but this effect does not appear to last over time .

The following resources can help you quit smoking:

  • Consumer information about quitting smoking is available at the www.smokefree.gov Web site.
  • The online Quit Guide may help you understand reasons for smoking and the best ways to quit.
  • The booklet Clearing the Air: Quit Smoking Today can be ordered at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) or printed here.

Cancer prevention clinical trials are used to study ways to prevent cancer.

Cancer prevention clinical trials are used to study ways to lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Some cancer prevention trials are conducted with healthy people who have not had cancer but who have an increased risk for cancer. Other prevention trials are conducted with people who have had cancer and are trying to prevent another cancer of the same type or to lower their chance of developing a new type of cancer. Other trials are done with healthy volunteers who are not known to have any risk factors for cancer.

The purpose of some cancer prevention clinical trials is to find out whether actions people take can prevent cancer. These may include eating fruits and vegetables, exercising, quitting smoking, or taking certain medicines, vitamins, minerals, or food supplements.

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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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