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    Proven Strategies to Quit Smoking

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    Quit-Smoking Drugs and Nicotine Patches and Gums

    What can help you quit smoking?

    Counseling and Support

    Counseling and support groups have been shown to improve a smoker’s odds of successfully quitting. Counseling takes many forms, from a doctor’s advice to a formal smoking cessation program such as those offered by medical centers and community health organizations. Online support in the form of quitlines has also proved very helpful. Counseling typically includes advice on how to recognize smoking triggers, strategies to resist cravings, how to prepare for your quit day, ongoing support during the first few months of quitting, and other assistance. Counseling can be combined with all forms of smoking-cessation aids.

    Is it right for you? Counseling and support is invaluable for almost all smokers who want to quit. Personal preference is the most important criteria, so choose the kind of program that feels right for you. If you thrive in the company of other people, look for a smoking-cessation program that meets in your community. If you want to go it alone, check out the growing number of online support groups and quitlines. Good places to start include the National Cancer Institute’s web site on smoking cessation or the North American Quitline Consortium. You can also call the federal government’s quitline at 800-QUITNOW.

    Expert advice: The more support and counseling you receive, research suggests, the better your odds of success.

    Stop Smoking With a Combination of Aids

    The best combination of approaches is the one that feels right to you. Experts say a few guidelines can help you and your doctor choose the most effective strategies.

    • If you’ve tried and failed to quit using one particular smoking cessation aid, such as nicotine replacement patches, for example, it’s wise to try another on your next attempt.
    • If previous attempts have ended because you gave into intense cravings, talk to your doctor about combining therapies such as nicotine replacement inhalers with drugs that will minimize those cravings.
    • If you’re reluctant to quit because you’re worried about weight gain, talk to your doctor about treatments that can minimize weight gain, and check out support groups that will encourage you to become more active.

    Whatever combination of approaches you choose, make sure that you begin with a positive mental attitude. “Optimism and the belief that you can do it is one of the most powerful indicators for success,” says Bruce S. Rabin, MD, PhD, medical director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Healthy Lifestyle Program.

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    Reviewed on January 20, 2011
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