Fact or Fiction: What to Know About Smoking Cessation Medications

I know that lots of folks who visit this page are on the journey to reclaim their freedom from tobacco. If that describes you, you may want to take a minute and a half and see how you do on this quick quiz. Please take less than 2 minutes and see how you do.

“Clean Nicotine”

While some people may be successful going “cold turkey,” most people are more successful when they use quit meds. Some of the simplest and safest quit meds are safe because their primary ingredient is something you’re already using – nicotine. Wait, aren’t we trying to quit nicotine? Well, eventually yes! But my first concern is to help a person reduce the harm they’re doing to themselves. Inhaling 7,000 chemicals including 60 carcinogens, carbon monoxide, arsenic, and a radioactive metal (polonium) into our lungs is what makes us sick! And yes, most smokers are addicted to nicotine, but switching over to a “cleaner” form of nicotine is a great first step. To be clear, nicotine is toxic and and eventually stopping the nicotine should absolutely be the goal. But the 1200 Americans who died from a tobacco related disease today died because they sucked lots and lots of poison soot into their lungs. Nicotine didn’t kill them, it just made them go back for more soot.

Here are the 5 types of FDA approved Nicotine Replacement Therapy as explained on the Mayo Clinic web site (link below) :

“Clean & Wean”

The next step is to reduce the amount of nicotine gradually. This can make any withdrawal symptoms much easier to bear. An overwhelming majority of quitters relapse during the first 8 days after quitting – when the withdrawal symptoms are most uncomfortable. Having a clear plan to taper the amount of nicotine is important.

Non-Nicotine Medications

Since I’m not a doctor, I won’t say too much about Chantix (varenicline) or Wellbutrin/Zyban (bupropion.) These medications can be very helpful, but because they’re more complicated than using “clean nicotine,” you need to talk with your Healthcare Provider to see if these may be appropriate for you.

Combination Therapy

All of these medications can be used in combination with others. Using a patch (relatively large dose of nicotine) in conjunction with nicotine inhaler, gum, or lozenges (relatively small doses) can be a great approach. Knowing the facts about proven methods to quit smoking will improve your chances of success. To learn more, visit Mayo Clinic’s tobacco cessation page. Your Tobacco Cessation Specialist (Quit Coach) can be a great resource. Your “winning combination is out there!

And if you want some more support around quitting, QuittersWin offers free groups, phone coaching, and even motivational text message support. Stay in touch to stay on track!

Quitting smoking (or taking back your freedom from ANY addiction) isn’t easy, but it’s always worth it! (Because you’re worth it!) Thanks for taking good care of you.

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