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Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center

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At Last, Quit Smoking for Good

7 tips for quitting cigarettes -- no matter how many times you’ve tried before.

5. Ask About Drugs Approved by the FDA for Helping Smokers Quit continued...

Another prescription drug is Chantix. “It works indirectly on the metabolism of nicotine,” Schachter says. This helps overcome the chemical dependency. Chantix blocks the pleasant effects nicotine has on the brain.

Both drugs have a "black box" label warning indicating the most serious type of warning in prescription drug labeling. The warning includes reports on symptoms such as changes in behavior, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, and suicidal thoughts (thinking about harming or killing oneself or planning or trying to do so) while taking either of these medications to stop smoking.

6. Know Why You Crave Cigarettes

If you are a smoker and have tried to quit before, you may feel guilty now. That’s especially true for people with illnesses such as COPD or heart disease. Schachter says you may be embarrassed by your failure to stop smoking and worry that others are judging you. Schachter also says, though, stop worrying. “Smokers are not self-destructive, lazy, or unmotivated,” he says. The cycle of quitting and then going back to smoking, he tells WebMD, is due to the powerful addiction which creates strong cravings for cigarettes. Smoking again after stopping is not a reflection on the character of the person trying to quit.

People smoke because they are addicted to nicotine, Schachter says. And the nicotine in cigarettes is every bit as addictive as heroin or cocaine. In his book Life and Breath, Schachter explains that anyone who smokes at least five to 10 cigarettes a day is considered addicted to cigarettes. And sometimes it takes a major catastrophe, such as hospitalization, for people to be able to stop smoking and stay ex-smokers.

Even those who have been able to stop smoking for years can get the urge to smoke again. And while no two smokers are alike, trying to quit smoking is guaranteed to increase feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.

7. Get Support or Counseling

One way to deal with the stress of quitting -- and increase the odds that you’ll quit for good -- is to consider group or individual counseling, according to Wolfenden. And, she adds, always talk to your physician to get the best help you can.

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