Quitting smoking is never easy. But a growing number of smoking cessation aids make it easier than ever for smokers to break their addiction to nicotine.
Research suggests that medications and nicotine replacement therapies can double and sometimes even triple the chances that a smoker will successfully quit. Some of these treatments also help to minimize weight gain while quitting -- an important plus for many smokers who want to kick the habit.
Incidence and mortality
Over the period from 2004 to 2008, the estimated incidence of oral cancer in the United States was 10.6 cases per 100,000 persons per year. The most recent estimated mortality rate (from 2003–2007) was 2.5 per 100,000 persons per year. U.S. incidence and mortality rates are about 2.5 and 2.8 times higher, respectively, in men than women. It is estimated that there will be 41,380 new cases of oral cancer diagnosed in the United States in 2013 and...
With a growing number of options available, doctors are now able to create personalized treatment plans tailored to an individual smoker’s needs and preferences.
What’s right for you? Here are stop-smoking aids and drugs to consider:
Nicotine Replacement Therapies
The idea is simple. To help smokers manage nicotine withdrawal, nicotine replacement therapies deliver the potent drug in ways that are far healthier and safer than cigarettes. Ideally, ex-smokers can gradually reduce the amount of nicotine or stop nicotine replacement therapy all at once after they’ve broken the habit of smoking. Even when used for long periods of time, nicotine replacement therapies are far safer than smoking. Quit rates range from 19% to 26%.
Is it right for you? If you’ve tried to quit before and failed because the craving for nicotine was too strong, nicotine replacement therapies may help. Gum, lozenges, and patches are available over-the-counter. Nasal sprays and inhalers require a prescription. Gums and lozenges are handy to use and offer something for smokers to put in their mouths instead of a cigarette. Some smokers prefer inhalers because the process of inhaling mimics smoking a cigarette. All of these forms are about equally effective and they can be used in combination. Indeed, evidence suggests that combining patches with inhalers, gum, or nasal sprays improves long-term quit rates. But you cannot continue to smoke while using nicotine replacement therapy. You must quit tobacco before you take alternate forms of nicotine.
Expert advice: “Don’t be in too much of a hurry to go off nicotine replacement,” says Scott McIntosh, PhD, associate professor of community and preventive medicine at the University of Rochester in New York and director of the Greater Rochester Area Tobacco Cessation Center. “One common problem we see is people stopping too early and then experiencing cravings that they can’t resist.” McIntosh recommends using nicotine replacement therapies for two to three months. And after you’ve stopped using them, he recommends keeping some gum or lozenges handy just in case you suddenly experience an intense craving.