With our list of the best smoking cessation programs, you can do it, but it will not happen in a day. It will take time, determination, dedication, and a few events of failure.
Let’s get it straight first, there is no one-size-fits-all smoking cessation program that can be equally effective for every individual. That said, many successful ex-smokers reveal that a combination of different approaches has worked for them.
Cigarette smoking is a major health problem in the US. In addition, it is the leading cause of disease, disability, and death among Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly 16 percent of American adults aged 18 years or older are current smokers and a staggering 70 percent of the smokers want to quit completely.
Clearly, this means you are not alone in the quest for a smoke-free life. To help you get the most effective support and guidance, we have compiled a list of the best smoking cessations programs that are based on scientific evidence. Continue reading to discover more.
The 5 Characteristics of the Best Smoking Cessation Programs: What Makes Them the Best
The best smoking cessation programs are those that not only reduce the cravings or make you feel better without smoking but also take care of your overall health.
- overcome the fear and problems that you might encounter while quitting.
- extend the smoke-free duration.
- reduce the chances of a relapse.
- maintain general health.
- reduce the effects of smoking through different nutritional approaches.
Understandably, a single approach is very less likely to offer all the benefits mentioned above. So, it becomes imperative to consider a collaborative effort if you are looking to quit smoking forever. Your options include:
Looking for the Best Smoking Cessation Programs? Know Your Options
Non-prescription nicotine products
You can buy nicotine patches, gums or lozenges at a local drugstore. Most notably, unlike the prescription medications, you can buy them without a doctor’s prescription.
These products contain calculated amounts of nicotine, which is one of the most addictive substances on the planet. They replace the cigarette-derived nicotine and thus help control cravings. The doses or frequency is then gradually reduced, this is called tapering.
Once the body adjusts to lower nicotine intake, weaning off of nicotine may be possible.
Counseling and support groups
Counseling is a great non-drug approach to helping a person quit. It involves regular sessions of motivational suggestions from your doctor or a qualified health professional. Essentially, counseling does not prevent or reduce cravings, rather it helps you set the goals and stick to them. According to a 2014 study, counseling is an effective tool for smoking cessation.
Various modes of counseling include:
- Telephone-based help
- One-to-one or individualized counseling
- Internet-based help
Support groups are an emotional and social support system that includes friends, family, coworkers, ex-smokers, and in some cases, your doctor or nurse. Here, you can share your problems, fears, and success or failure stories to your loved ones or someone going through a similar phase. It helps you stay motivated and thus reduces the chances of relapse.
The US FDA has approved two drugs for use in smoking cessation programs. They are - Bupropion (Zyban) and Varenicline (Chantix).
Both these drugs have shown a promise in curbing cravings and reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms. For noticeable benefits, you should take them for at least 12 weeks.
The major problem with the prescription medications is that they can cause serious side effects such as increased suicidal tendency, hostility, and depression in some people.
Take Home Message
You have a number of options when looking for the best smoking cessation programs. These include - nicotine replacement products, counseling and prescription medications. Because quitting smoking is very hard and a single approach is usually less effective, experts recommend using a combination of these approaches.
Lastly, keep in mind that "years of smoking can negatively impact the nutritional status of smokers".
Thus, it is critically important to replenish the lost nutrients with high-quality supplements. Click here to learn more about the specific supplements that can help quitting and preserve your health.