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Quitting Smoking - Planning Your Strategy to Quit

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4. Get and use medicine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several medicines to help people quit smoking. You will double your chances of quitting even if medicine is the only treatment you use to quit. Your odds get even better when you combine medicine and other quit strategies, such as counseling.1

You won't have to take medicines forever—just for as long as it takes to help you quit. Your employer or health plan may help pay the cost of a quit-smoking program or provide help to pay for medicines. And remember that no matter how much it costs to buy medicines to help you stop smoking, it's still less than the cost of smoking.

The first-choice medicines are:2

  • Nicotine replacement therapy. This includes nicotine gum, patches, lozenges, and inhalers. You can buy gum, patches, and lozenges without a prescription.
  • Bupropion SR (Zyban). This is a non-nicotine prescription medicine that reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
  • Varenicline (Chantix). This prescription medicine helps withdrawal symptoms and cravings, and it reduces the pleasure you feel from smoking.
dplink.gif Quitting Smoking: Should I Use Medicine?

Remember, taking medicines and using telephone or in-person counseling or a quit-smoking program at the same time greatly increases your chances of success.

5. Be prepared for relapse

Most people are not successful the first few times they try to quit smoking. If you start smoking again, don't feel bad about yourself. A slip or relapse is just a sign that you need to change your approach to quitting.

A slip of just one or two cigarettes can lead back to regular smoking, but many smokers can get back to not smoking by changing their plan. For example, they may add counseling or a medicine. Or they may talk to a friend who used to smoke. Make a list of things you learned. And think about when you want to try again, such as next week, next month, or next spring. Or you don't have to wait. If you're still motivated to quit, you can try again as soon as you want.

You might get some ideas for things you can do differently by looking at "Prepare for roadblocks" in the Thinking About Quitting? section. Maybe you can try something new next time, such as a new medicine or type of counseling. You might try combining tools, such as counseling and medicine. Keep trying, and don't be fooled into thinking that smoking "light" cigarettes will help. They do not make smoking safer.

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