How to Quit Smoking
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- Smoking and quitting smoking facts
- What problems are caused by smoking?
- What is addictive disease and why is smoking considered an addictive disease?
- What are the signs of cigarette addiction?
- Why should someone quit smoking?
- What are the steps in quitting?
- Getting ready to quit smoking
- On the day you quit smoking
- Staying quit
- What methods can help a person quit smoking?
- Behavioral modification and self-help literature to quit smoking
- Nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking
- What prescription products are available for smoking cessation?
- How are nicotine-containing products used safely?
- What is in the future for smoking?
- Smoking FAQs
- Find a local Internist in your town
Smoking and quitting smoking facts
- Although smoking is an addiction, people can quit smoking.
- Secondhand smoke is harmful to the health of children, unborn children, family members, and coworkers.
- Quitting smoking cuts the risk of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and respiratory diseases.
- The steps in quitting, each of which requires special attention and efforts by the smoker, are getting ready to quit, quitting, and staying quit.
- A number of techniques are available to assist people who want to quit, including nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), behavioral modification, self-help literature, and prescription medications.
- In nicotine replacement therapy, which is the cornerstone of most smoking cessation programs, another source of nicotine is substituted while the cigarettes are stopped. (The idea of nicotine replacement therapy is to eliminate both the smoking habit - although the addiction remains - and the symptoms of withdrawal. Then, the replacement nicotine is gradually stopped.)
- Currently, three forms of nicotine replacement therapy are available over the counter: nicotine patches, nicotine gum, and nicotine lozenges, while two forms are available by prescription, an inhaler and a nasal spray.
- Nicotine replacement therapy has about a 25% success rate, which increases to 35% or 40% when nicotine replacement therapy is combined with intensive behavioral counseling.
- Nicotine-containing substances have side effects, interactions with other medications, effects on other medical conditions, and limitations in their use.
- Varenicline (Chantix) is a prescription drug that can help adults quit smoking. It is believed to act on the same receptors (the sites where nicotine acts to produce its effects) in the brain as nicotine, resulting in activation (stimulation) of these receptors and blocking the ability of nicotine to attach to these receptors.
- A prescription drug called bupropion (Zyban, Wellbutrin) has also been found to be effective in helping people to stop smoking.
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