Congratulations! You’ve decided to quit smoking, one of the best choices you can make for your health. Right after you take that last puff, your body will start to recover. Carbon monoxide levels in your blood will drop. In less than a week, it’ll be easier to breathe.
Quitting is hard, and so you’ll want to give yourself your best shot at success. Going cold turkey, where you simply stop smoking without any help, is a popular method. But it isn’t easy. About 95% of smokers who attempt it will start smoking again. If you’re one of them, there are tools to help you reach your goal.
Nicotine Replacement Products
These slowly break your addiction with controlled doses of nicotine. They let you manage your cravings and provide some relief from withdrawal symptoms.
The doses get lower and lower as you take them, so you get used to less and less nicotine before you stop altogether. You may have up to a 70% greater chance of quitting if you use one of these products.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, check with your doctor before you start.
Patch: Placed right on your skin, patches release a small amount of nicotine into your body. They’re available over the counter (OTC), which means that you don’t need a prescription.
Place a new patch on a different spot on your body every day. You can reuse a spot after a week has passed. It may be more effective to start using the patch a few days before your quit date and to use it along with another nicotine product.
Gum: You chew this OTC product just like regular gum. Your dose depends on how much you smoke. When you feel a tingle in your mouth, stop and put it in your cheek. When the tingling is gone, start chewing again. Do this over and over again until the tingle is gone – usually after about 30 minutes. For the first 6 weeks, you’ll chew one piece every 1 or 2 hours. Treatment should last around 12 weeks. If you feel the need to continue, talk to your doctor.