Quit Smoking – Information & Cessation Aids

The facts about smoking are bleak. Smoking is a global epidemic. The World Health Organization estimates that six million smokers die every year from smoking-related illnesses. Perhaps worse still, a further one million non-smokers die from diseases related to inhaling other people’s smoke.

However, it’s hard to put global figures like this into context. So put in more straightforward terms, if you smoke, toss a coin. Heads, you survive. Tails, smoking will be the cause of your death. Blunt. But true.

If you’re thinking of quitting, then a good place to start is with our quick guide about smoking cessation.

As a response to such terrible odds, strategies and health policies are being put in place to assist smokers in giving up.

The Benefits of Smoking Cessation

The benefits of smoking cessation are enormous. As soon as you stop smoking, you immediately reduce your risk of developing a smoking-related illness. After one year, your risk of coronary heart disease will have decreased by half, and your lungs will have begun to repair themselves.

After five years, the arteries in your blood vessels will have had the chance to repair and widen themselves again, reducing the risk of strokes and peripheral vascular disease. 

After ten years, you will have reduced your risk of developing lung cancer by half. And after twenty years, your risk of death from smoking-related diseases is that of a non-smoker.

Aside from not falling victim yourself, if you live with others who don’t smoke, especially children, you are also improving their health too.

Other than health, the next thing that motivates people is money. In the US, an average pack of 20 cigarettes costs around $7. However, in the UK, smokers pay, on average double. The tax levied on UK cigarettes is aimed at making a dent in paying for NHS healthcare for smoking-related illnesses.

Take the US price of cigarettes, and you’ll pay around $2500 per year. For many people, $50 a week is a significant motivating factor. Not least, the savings can be directly seen and used as rewards to keep you motivated to quit.

In addition to a fatter wallet, the benefits of smoking cessation include having fresher smelling breath and clothes. And you’ll  have better mental health, as well as higher self-esteem for finally beating your habit.

Smoking Cessation Side Effects

Nothing worth doing ever came easily. That can certainly be said of smoking. People that have successfully quit other substances, including alcohol and drugs, claim that nicotine is the most addictive and the hardest to kick. In fact, the list of smoking cessation side effects is many people’s own version of hell. Which is a major reason why smokers find it hard to quit.

We’ve detailed possible smoking cessation side effects below. But please, don’t run for the hills. You won’t suffer from all of them, and if you are aware of them before you try to quit, you’ll be better equipped to deal with them. There are also strategies and medications you can use to minimize them.

Smoking cessation side effects include:

  • Intense nicotine cravings
  • Headaches and nausea
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Poor concentration
  • Tingling in hands and feet
  • Insomnia
  • Frustration, irritation, and anger
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation

The 5 A’s Of Smoking Cessation

One such intervention approach you might have heard of is referred to as the 5 A’s. It is designed for healthcare workers to motivate smokers to change their behavior. So if you’ve ever wondered what are the 5 A’s of smoking cessation, here they are:

Ask: An advisor will ask you about your current and past smoking habits

Advise: They will then advise you to quit. Period.

Assess: The advisor will then assess your willingness to quit

Assist: The clinician will then seek to assist you in your efforts to quit or cut down.

Arrange: And finally arrange a follow-up or referral.

There are also 5 R’s of smoking cessation that are from the perspective of someone who wants to help. Please share it with anyone who is trying to help.

Treatment Plan For Smoking Cessation

With side effects like these, it’s best to make a treatment plan for smoking cessation. In fact, if you take part in a smoking cessation program, you are more than twice as likely to quit as those who go it alone.

Like many things in life, one size rarely fits all, and a treatment plan for smoking cessation is tailored for the individual. Treatment plans often consist of a combination of patches or other aids, medication, counseling, and quitlines for when you feel willing to murder for a cigarette.

Smoking cessation treatment plans are very cost-effective in terms of the provision of healthcare. They are, therefore, usually offered as healthcare benefits and can be accessed through most insurance plans.

How Long Are Smoking Cessation Programs?

Sometimes knowing how long something will last can help you brace yourself. But as for, how long are smoking cessation programs? There are no hard and fast rules. You are considered a non-smoker six months after you had your last cigarette. But that doesn’t mean you will have necessarily finished your individual smoking cessation program.

Typically prescription medication will be offered as a 12-week course, with a further 12-week course or longer if needed. If you are still experiencing cravings, you won’t be taken off medication. You might even have your medication changed so that you are more comfortable. And your meds won’t be tapered off until you feel ready. Of course, you can use free quitlines for as long as you like.  

Best Treatment For Smoking Cessation 

There is no one best treatment for smoking cessation. In many countries, such as New Zealand, where they hope to be smoke-free by 2025, vaping is considered to be the holy grail for smoking cessation. The NHS in the UK has also embraced vaping as being 95% safer than tobacco smoking. It’s a method that works for some smokers when all else has failed.

However,  the US has experienced a recent health crisis and several deaths due to THC and vitamin E acetate in unregistered vape oil. Vaping is not currently recommended in the US by the FDA as a smoking cessation treatment. Nevertheless, many people prefer the advice of other nations and have “switched” to vaping reasonably effortlessly.

The closest smoking cessation method  to vaping that is FDA approved are nicotine inhalers that deliver nicotine to the lungs. Many people like these as they mimic the hand to mouth motion of a traditional cigarette.

Nicotine patches are also popular in the US, along with various medications that tackle nicotine withdrawal and cravings. Counseling is often part of a holistic approach to treating smoking addiction. 

And many find quitlines, to be a lifesaver when they feel they can’t cope another minute without a cigarette.

You can also try less conventional methods, such as hypnosis and meditation.

The best treatment for smoking cessation is usually a combination of methods. One medication may work better for you than others, and some methods you may feel are not suitable for you at all. It’s your choice. 

Cost of Hypnosis for Smoking Cessation

Hypnosis is not a magic cure but has been proven to be a helpful method in the treatment of addiction.

You are unlikely to find hypnotherapy on every health insurance program. Still many people hope it could be the answer for them. Since you will probably have to pay for hypnosis yourself, many people are concerned about the cost.  

But the cost of hypnosis for smoking cessation is more affordable than you might think. You won’t be healed overnight and repulsed by cigarettes after your first session. However, most people find that they are making progress after four sessions. It’s up to you  if you wish to have further sessions to reinforce the suggestions.

Sessions cost from $85-125 per hour session, so the total cost of hypnosis of smoking cessation is typically less than you would spend on cigarettes in two months. If it helps you quit, then it will likely be the best money you ever spent.

Smoking Cessation Meditation 

Smoking cessation meditation is another highly effective method that is often overlooked. Meditation helps to reduce stress, and the less stressed you are, the less likely you will be to reach for a cigarette.  Meditation, in general, also helps to teach mindfulness. This will help you to be more in touch with and aware of your cravings and smoking habit.

By developing mindfulness, you will be willing to accept you have a craving but be able to not act on it.

Finally, meditation helps you to improve your self-control. It effectively boosts your willpower and enables you to change harmful behavior.

It’s fair to say that many smokers want vapes, patches, and meds. Period. However, smoking cessation meditation can help when every other method has failed.

The great thing about smoking cessation meditation is that while you can pay for a course, you really don’t have to. You can grab hundreds of smoking cessation meditation videos on YouTube that can help you to quit, once and for all. Alternatively, you can listen to an guided meditation audio-books.

New Smoking Cessation Medication

If you’re serious about quitting, then new smoking cessation methods have been proven to be effective. The medicines are designed to be used with nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches, gum, and lozenges.

Both Zyban and Chantix works by lessening the pleasurable effects of nicotine and reducing withdrawal symptoms. Both medications require a prescription, and for them to be effective you need a “quit day.”

You should take start taking Chantix 12 weeks before your planned quit day. With Zyban, you start your course one or two days before you stop smoking.

It’s essential to speak to your doctor before taking either of these new smoking cessation medications., as there are symptoms associated with each. And people with certain behaviors and medical history should not take these drugs.

Smoking Cessation Quitline

In addition to the various methods, we have mentioned it’s not always a patch or a lozenge you need. When the going gets tough, and you either have a craving or side effect you think will make you throw in the towel, a smoking cessation quitline can be a Godsend that will get you through.

Speaking to a human being about your struggles can be the help and distraction that will keep you on track to a smoke-free future.

A smoking cessation quitline should always be part of a backup plan to offer support. Trained coaches can give you further support, guidance, information, and referrals.

1-800- QUIT NOW is a toll-free number that can connect you with your state smoking cessation quitline. All states have quitlines manned by trained counselors who know just how hard quitting can be and have a mountain of resources on hand to help you.

See our list of programs to help you quit smoking, sorted by state.

Best of luck!

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