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How to Quit Smoking Like a Man

They say you have to want to quit smoking. But what smoker doesn’t want to quit?

Number one tip: Don’t try to quit smoking alone continued...

Zyban, the brand name for bupropion, apparently works by activating reward centers in your brain similar to the way nicotine does. A new drug, varenicline, marketed as Chantix, blocks the receptors that get turned on when you smoke, making smoking less pleasurable.

Studies seem to show varenicline is more effective than Zyban, but with a cost. About a third of those who stayed on varenicline reported nausea. “A colleague of mine who did one of the early trials said he could tell which patients were getting the drug [and not the placebo] because they were turning green,” says Klesges. Still, varenicline may be an option for some people.

The “never borrow a cigarette” rule

Once you’ve stopped, obviously, it’s essential to stay stopped. Relapses are common, but Klesges has a system for keeping them to a minimum. The rule is never relapse on a borrowed cigarette. If you need a cigarette desperately, leave wherever you are and buy a pack at a store. Smoking is a sudden urge, one that can fade on the way to the 7-Eleven. If it doesn’t, throw away the 19 left in the pack that you don’t smoke.

“I’ve never had anybody follow these rules and relapse,” Klesges says. “But a lot of people don’t follow the rules.”

A footnote: Three days after I submitted this story, on my 48th birthday, I stuck a 14 mg nicotine transdermal patch on my arm. I’m on my second day. Wish me luck.

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Reviewed on June 01, 2007

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