millions of people vow to finally kick the cigarette habit, only to watch their
optimistic expectations go up in smoke. But if they've tried and failed with
conventional smoking cessation approaches -- whether it's the use of nicotine
gum, counseling, or behavior modification -- they often look outside the
mainstream, motivated by the hope that alternative medicine might finally
deliver them from a life cluttered with cigarette packs and tarnished by
If you use snus, do you win or lose?
Snus -- alternately pronounced snoose or snooze -- is a smokeless, flavored tobacco product very different from snuff. When placed between cheek and gum, it doesn't make you spit.
Even its critics admit that snus is less harmful than other forms of smokeless tobacco. And it is far less harmful than cigarette smoking.
So is snus a good thing?
It would be a good thing if everyone who smoked cigarettes or dipped snuff switched to snus instead. It would be a good...
smokers and health-care professionals agree that the challenge of quitting
comes to smoking cessation, there's no magic bullet -- I think everyone agrees
with that," says Thomas Kiresuk, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the
Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation and former director of the Center for
Addiction and Alternative Medicine Research in Minneapolis, Minn. And while
many alternative approaches are available -- ranging from acupuncture to guided
imagery to self-hypnosis -- they're certainly no panacea, and for every smoker
they help, they may leave another one frustrated and feeling a slow burn at the
end of the day while they light up their next cigarette.
people swear by the acupuncture needles stuck in their bodies or the
nicotine-averse images implanted in their minds, crediting these unconventional
techniques with thoughts of conquering their nicotine cravings for good. But
when you examine all of the scientific research, the success stories are
interspersed with the disappointments. "There's really nothing out there
that has set itself apart as a winner in the treatment of smoking
cessation," says Kiresuk, a professor in the department of psychiatry at
the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
A Powerful Addiction
More than 50
million Americans smoke, and nearly 7 million more use smokeless tobacco. The
numbers are even higher in other parts of the globe, with worldwide statistics
showing that one out of three men and women over the age of 18 are
doubt, smoking remains a risky business. In the U.S. alone, tobacco kills more
than 440,000 people each year, according to the CDC.
experts concur that no matter how strong your will for kicking the habit, there
are some powerful, addictive forces plotting against you. Certainly, no single
smoking-cessation technique works for everyone, and the failure rate can be
discouraging, with most people quitting at least three times in the past before
finally finding a way to stop for good.
nothing more difficult than quitting smoking," says David Bresler, PhD,
clinical professor of anesthesiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at
UCLA and president of the Academy of Guided Imagery in Malibu, Calif. "No
one smokes because it feels good and because they enjoy the feeling of hot
toxic gases moving down their throat," he says. "These people are
addicts -- they're addicted to nicotine."