What can you do to stop smoking is a really important question. Consider the fact that smoking kills enough people to represent a Hiroshima bomb attack every 6 days and you realize just how important stopping is.
With an estimated one billion people expected to die over the 21st century as a direct result of smoking, it is no wonder that here is such a lot of activity in trying to get people to stop. So what can you do to stop smoking?
Firstly, you should ensure that you understand why you need to stop smoking. The toxins found in both tobacco smoke and in smokeless tobacco cause the death tolls that I have mentioned. Tar contains hundreds of toxic and carcinogenic (cancer causing) substances. Because of these, tobacco causes an enormous amount of cancer in smokers, particularly of the lung, but all over the body too.
The second thing you can do to stop smoking is to assess the various options available to you and decide to follow one or more of them.
The most common method is to stop smoking cold turkey but that has the very lowest success rate of any approach. Having said that, people who quit cold turkey (without pharmaceutical aids) have the highest long-term success.
What other methods can you do to stop smoking? Probably best known is nicotine replacement therapies such as gum, patches, lozenges, spray and inhalers. These are reported to double your chances compared with cold turkey, to about 10%.
True pharmaceutical approaches include Zyban (also known as wellbutrin) and Chantix (also known as varenicline). Although they work differently, they largely interfere with the way your brain interacts with nicotine. Zyban removes the urge to smoke and can be more effective if used in conjunction with nicotine replacement therapy. Chantix blocks the receptors in the brain that receive nicotine, taking away the pleasure of smoking from smokers so they just give up.
Zyban reportedly increases chances of quitting to around 16% and Chantix, despite initial reports of 44% success, has been found to have around a 21% success rate in reality. Both of these methods are significantly better than cold turkey or NRT but their success rates are pretty low and there is a big drop off rate with time as people return to smoking because they still have a mental attachment to it.
Hypnosis is another well known approach and there is evidence that it can be very effective. It is important to realize that hypnosis is very dependent upon the therapist and on you. A therapist that works for your friend may be useless to you and vice versa.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is one of the least well known but conversely more effective methods available with independent research suggesting chances of success being between 5 and 7 times that of quitting cold turkey. It works by breaking down smoking into finite problems and then leading the smoker through each problem to help them reach a positive resolution. Putting that more simply, it helps you change your attitude to every aspect of smoking thus making it easier to quit
There are also a whole army of other methods out there, most of which belong in what I call the ‘snake oil’ cabinet. Therapies such as laser treatment, acupuncture, magnets, herbal tinctures, patches and pills are either completely unregulated or unmonitored or where they have been assessed scientifically they have been found wanting.
The most important thing you can do to stop smoking is to educate yourself. You can do this on the net. This is free but could take hours if not weeks and will be unstructured if you are turning to site after site for information. Alternatively, you can use a prepared system such as a book or a subscription website.
Secondly, you must realize that you can only stop smoking for yourself. You cannot do it for someone else or because someone else want you to stop smoking. You are responsible for smoking and only you can be responsible for stopping.
Thirdly, once you have decided to stop smoking, make sure you are happy with that decision and never doubt the decision thereafter. It was right when you made it and it will be the right decision till the day you die.
Finally, if you are tired of trying to quit smoking using patches, pills and potions AND getting nowhere, maybe you need to try Tom Dainty's Quit Smoking Bible only available at http://quitsmokingbible.com