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Smoking Cessation Health Center

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How to Quit Smoking

But I Really Want to Quit Smoking! continued...

2. Behavioral therapy. With behavioral therapy, you visit a therapist who will help you find the most effective way to quit. The therapist will help you to identify your triggers, come up with ways to get through cravings, and provide emotional support when you need it most.

3. Nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, sprays, and lozenges are nicotine replacement therapies (called NRT). Replacement therapy works by giving you nicotine without using tobacco. You may be more likely to quit smoking if you use nicotine replacement therapy. But if you're under age 18, you need to get your doctor's permission to use nicotine replacement therapy. This therapy works best when combined with behavioral therapy and lots of support from friends and family.

4. Medicine. Some drugs, including Zyban and Chantix, are formulated to help people quit smoking. Your doctor must prescribe these medications.

5. Combination treatments. Using a combination of treatment methods can increase your chances of quitting. For example, using both a nicotine patch and gum may be better than a patch alone. Other proven combination treatments include behavioral therapy and nicotine replacement therapy, prescription medication with a nicotine patch, and nicotine patch and nicotine spray.

Your New Rules for Quitting Smoking

There are some important things to remember when quitting smoking:

1. Know your triggers and avoid them early on. Try to stay away from situations that normally make you feel like smoking, especially during the first three months. This is when you are most likely to start smoking again.

2. Know that the first few days are the toughest. If you are quitting "cold turkey," the first few days are the hardest. You will probably feel irritable, depressed, slow, and tired. Once you get past those first days, you will begin to feel normal (but still have cigarette cravings).

3. Don't give in to your craving to smoke. Every time you don't smoke when you have a craving, your chances of quitting successfully go up. 

4. Start a new activity with friends who don't smoke. This can increase your chances of quitting smoking.

Perhaps smoking is a real part of your identity and your life. Giving up a part of your identity is difficult. You may feel sad that you do not smoke anymore. This is a normal feeling. But remember that feeling sad may be one of your triggers.

What If I Start Smoking Again?

It's called "relapse." Relapse is normal in strong addictions like smoking. Many people quit and relapse several times before quitting permanently. If you relapse, at least minimize the amount you smoke during the relapse. For example, if you smoked eight cigarettes a day before quitting and only smoke four cigarettes a day when you relapse, you have made some progress. Don't lose hope -- quitting is a process that might take some time.


WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on April 14, 2014

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