The question ‘which stop smoking aid is the most effective’ has often confused smokers wanting to quit cigarettes.
Compared to any other addiction, quitting smoking is by far the toughest.
The main reason behind the same is the manner in which the toxic chemicals emitting from cigarette smoke take control over your mind & body. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are so severe that smokers usually get back to their normal self within a week of quitting.
This is when you strive to find the best stop smoking aid. With so many of these available in the market today, choosing the best is a daunting task indeed.
Ironically, most quit smoking methods never really work. They are usually designed by a self-proclaimed quit smoking expert. In the absence of proper research, the overall success rate derived from these ‘quit smoking’ aids is not worth a mention.
In this article, I shall discuss only those stop smoking aids that have been proven to work. So, let me clarify these loopholes via my article:
Which Stop Smoking Aid is the Most Effective Article Contents:
1) What are Stop Smoking Aids?
2) Nicotine Replacement Therapy to Quit Smoking
3) Quit Smoking Tablets
4) Gums to Help You Quit Smoking
5) Patches for Helping You Quit Smoking
6) E Cigarette to Help You Quit Smoking
7) Nicotine Inhaler for Quitting Smoking
8) Nicotine Lozenges for Quitting Smoking
9) Nicotine Spray for Quitting Smoking
10) Points to Take Into Consideration while Opting for Nicotine Replacement Therapy
11) Conclusive Analysis
What are Stop Smoking Aids?
If you want to stop smoking cigarettes then, treatment methods to help you on the way do exist. Of the several known treatments, some are approved by the FDA. Others are not.
Regardless of whether the method used has a legal seal of usage or not, the final results cannot be predetermined. It all depends on how a smoker’s body reacts to them. So, no particular product can be considered ‘the best’ while the other deemed ‘the worst’.
Products such as gums, patches, e cigs, inhalers, nicotine replacement therapies, medications etc. are often used by smokers looking to quit smoking. Which ones work and which stop smoking aids do not, is a question that needs to be answered.
Ironically, smokers that use stop smoking aids (such as the ones mentioned above) have a higher change of quitting cigarettes (almost 67%). Those that do not use them have a low chance of success – 6% or even less.
So, it’s generally a good idea to use quit smoking aids.
Let me walk you through a few quit smoking aids and ascertain which one is best suited for you.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy to Quit Smoking
It is nicotine that tends to make you addicted to cigarettes. It is an addictive chemical that is found in regular cigarettes. When your body gets accustomed to receiving a certain amount of nicotine daily, it simply cannot do without it.
So, when you decide to call it quits – the craving for nicotine is intense. Withdrawal symptoms kick-in and you are compelled to lite a cigarette once again. So, all your efforts to stop smoking permanently go up in smoke.
So, how do you stop this from happening?
Well, nicotine replacement therapy is considered to be a one-stop-solution. While it is not foolproof, it does work in helping smokers steer clear of cigarettes.
What is Nicotine Replacement Therapy?
Nicotine replacement therapy is a method that is used to help smokers quit smoking. It is a way to allow the body to continue ingesting nicotine within your blood-stream without the aid of cigarettes.
So, you are basically given different options whereby you intake nicotine. This helps the body to meet its nicotine requirement without the need of a cigarette. This is what nicotine replacement therapy is all about.
The best part about nicotine replacement therapy is that it increases the chances of a smoker steering clear of cigarettes by as much as 66%.
What are the Different Types of Nicotine Replacement Aids?
@ You may opt for nicotine sprays.
@ Gums laced with nicotine content.
@ Patches laced with nicotine.
@ Nicotine based inhalers.
@ Lozenges fortified with nicotine.
@ Last but not the least nicotine tablets can also be used.
How Should You Administer Nicotine Replacement Therapy for Quitting Smoking?
@ You should always consult a medical practitioner before initiating the process.
@ The next step is to determine which nicotine replacement method you wish to use. I have made a list of these in the above sub-header.
@ Assess your current level of cigarettes smoked per day. If it is a pack or more then, the dosage shall be higher and vice versa.
@ Pick a day to start your nicotine replacement therapy. It should ideally be a stress-free day backed by a couple of holidays thereafter.
@ The dosage of whichever nicotine replacement method you use depends on your current cigarette consumption. So, dose accordingly. Consult a doctor for getting the accurate dosage.
@ You also need to ensure that you continue the nicotine replacement therapy for a period of 3 months to get the best results.
@ As you near the third month, the dosage of your chosen nicotine replacement product is gradually reduced.
@ At the end of the 3rd month, the nicotine replacement aid is stopped completely.
Can You Opt for Nicotine Replacement Therapy if You are Breastfeeding or Pregnant?
Well, if you are a pregnant woman then, smoking cigarettes is definitely harmful. It is a health hazard for both you and your child. So, you should try and ensure that you quit smoking. For that, nicotine replacement therapy may be used.
Women that are pregnant should use nicotine replacement gums or inhalers. They can even use nicotine replacement sprays. All these can help pregnant women to quit smoking cigarettes.
Nicotine replacement products laced with liquorice should be avoided during pregnancy.
If you are breastfeeding a baby then, you may use sprays, inhalers or gum. Nonetheless, their usage should be minimized. You should breastfeeding the baby after 90 minutes of taking the chosen nicotine replacement product.
If you breastfeed the baby within 30 to 60 minutes post taking the nicotine replacement aid then, your milk shall contain high levels of nicotine. So, avoid it at all times.
Quit Smoking Tablets
There are certain pills that are approved by the FDA. These are used by smokers aspiring to quit cigarettes. There are 2 quit smoking pills that are popular. The first is Varenicline and the second one is Bupropion.
Varenicline Tablets for Quitting Smoking:
@ This is a prescription drug and it needs a doctor’s approval.
@ You can either opt for the 0.5mg option or the 1.0mg potency.
@ There is zero nicotine content in the Varenicline pill.
@ It has a 3 month course. For the first 3 days, take a single 0.5mg pill daily. For the next 3 days, take 2 such pills. On the 9th day, you can increase the dosage to 4 pills a day, till you quit smoking.
@ Consume this pill after food. Breakfast and dinner are ideal options. Never have it on an empty stomach.
Varenicline Tablets – Things You Need to Watch Out For:
@ It is possible to not have complete control on your motor skills. This is when you should avoid indulging in any activity that involves mind to muscle co-ordination.
@ In case after taking the pill, you feel irate, angry, depressed and anxious then again, you should seek medical advice before continuing with it.
@ People with respiratory tract illness should avoid taking Varenicline.
@ If you suffer from heart problems then again, you should avoid this pill. If the doctor Ok’s its usage then, go ahead with Varenicline else, avoid it.
@ You need to ensure that Varenicline never reaches the hands of a child. It should be stored in a cool, dry and safe place.
Bupropion Tablets for Quitting Smoking:
@ This is a prescription drug that needs doctor approval. Bupropion is a slow release drug.
@ The ideal dosage is a single 150 mg pill for the first 4 days. Thereafter, you can take 2 pills for about 3 months.
@ Maintain an ideal gap of 7 to 8 hours between two doses.
@ Bupropion tablets need to be consumed with water (preferably after meals).
@ Do not take 3 or more Bupropion pills in a single day. The maximum (daily) dosage needs to be limited to 2 pills.
Bupropion Tablets – Things You Need to Watch Out For:
@ It is suggested that (post the consumption of this pill) you should avoid indulging in any work that is critical in nature. For example – driving a car.
@ If you suffer from mood swings then, you should avoid this medicine. Changes in emotions such as anger and anxiety are also side effects affixed to this medicine.
@ Bupropion tablets should not be taken by heart patients. If you have cardiac issues then, seek doctor’s approval before taking Bupropion pills.
@ Taking more than 2 pills of Bupropion in a day may lead to health complications.
@ Never indulge in alcohol intake post taking this pill.
@ Keep Bupropion tablets in a cool and dry place. This medicine needs to be placed away from the reach of children.
@ Avoid taking Bupropion tablets before sleeping at night. Doing so may disrupt your natural and normal sleeping pattern.
Nicotine Gums to Help You Quit Smoking
Yet another method to ingest nicotine into your body is via chewing gum. It is not any ordinary gum but is laced with nicotine. Usually, gums for quitting smoking come in two variants. The first contains 2mg of nicotine content whereas the second one contains 4 mgs of nicotine.
How to Use Nicotine Gum to Quit Smoking?
@ You can use 2mg nicotine gum if you smoke during midday or during the evening.
@ If you smoke a cigarette right after waking up in the morning then, use the 4mg variant instead.
@ In case you are a heavy smoker then, use the 4mg nicotine gum variant for 3 months. This should help you quit cigarettes permanently.
@ Chew a gum every 2 hours in order to curb your nicotine craving. An ideal dose should be in between 12 to 20 nicotine gums per day.
@ Never take more than 23 gums in a single day. Also, reduce their dose to half on the 45th day of your ‘stop smoking’ pledge.
@ In case you smoke 5 to 8 cigarettes daily then, you can chew around 10 nicotine gums on a daily basis. No need to chew 20 plus gums a day.
@ It is recommended that you avoid food and drinks 20 minutes prior and 20 minutes post chewing a nicotine gum. Doing so enables you to use the gum to its maximum potency.
Advantages of using Nicotine Gums:
@ You can significantly increase the chances of quitting cigarettes once you start chewing gum.
@ A gum laced within nicotine is an ideal way to compensate for the missing nicotine content. It shall keep you mentally and physically satisfied despite you going without cigarettes.
@ You can chew nicotine gum every 90 minutes or even less. So, the frequency of its usage is super user-friendly in nature.
@ Nicotine absorption in the blood stream from chewing gum is way less as compared to smoking a cigarette.
@ Chewing nicotine gum tends to reduce your appetite considerably. This in turn helps maintain your daily calorie intake.
@ I (LeanAndFit info) feel that You can ultimately quit smoking cigarettes permanently if you use gum wisely.
Disadvantages of using Nicotine Gums:
@ If you have a denture or a dental crown/cap then, nicotine gum may stick to it.
@ You may get addicted to chewing nicotine gum instead of cigarettes.
@ Adrenaline rush caused by the nicotine content in cigarettes may lead to cardiac issues. Your blood glucose levels may also fall way below normal.
@ Some people have complained of increased hair fall after chewing gum to quit smoking.
@ Some smokers claim that started to see weird dreams at night.
Nicotine Patches for Helping You Quit Smoking
A well-known method to help you quit smoking is a nicotine patch. This patch is to be worn by the concerned smoker. You choose the nicotine potency in 3 different variants.
The lowest potency in a patch is 7 mg and the highest is 24 mg. Then there is a middle path as well – 14 mg. You can choose your nicotine level as per your current smoking levels.
Vital Facts on How to Use a Nicotine Patch:
@ If you smoke less than 9 cigarettes a day then, make use of 7 mg nicotine patch.
@ In case you smoke more than 10 and less than 15 cigarettes a day then, use 14 mg patch.
@ If you smoke more than 15 cigarettes a day then, make use of the 24 mg nicotine patch.
@ The dosage needs to be reduced after the 5th day onwards.
So for example, you are using a 24mg patch. After a month or so, reduce the potency of the nicotine patch to 14mg. Then, 7 mg and so on – till you quit smoking.
@ You should use a single nicotine patch for a period of 24 hours. Avoid placing more than one patch onto your body.
How to Apply a Nicotine Patch Correctly?
@ The nicotine patch needs to be placed onto the upper area of the body. The chosen area should be clean, sweat-free and hair-free. For example – upper part of the shoulder.
@ You need to wash and clean your hands before applying the patch. Do not do so with dirt stained fingers.
@ Remove the nicotine patch from its cover and immediately place it onto clean and dry skin. Avoid contaminating the sticky side of the patch with your fingers.
@ Used nicotine patches need to be thrown in the bin. They should not be exposed to children and even animals. The nicotine content within these patches may harm kids or animals.
@ If you experience itching or rash onto the skin (post the patch’s application) then, stick the patch on a different area. If skin irritation persists then, seek medical assistance.
Advantages of using a Nicotine Patch:
@ You can buy them from the local drug store. No need to pay a visit to the doctor and get a prescription.
@ They are easily available and almost every medicinal outlet has these handy.
@ Only one patch is sufficient to meet the day’s nicotine requirement.
@ No one even knows that you are wearing a nicotine patch. Simply cover it with your tee-shirt.
@ Your chances of quitting smoking and staying that way literally double after wearing a patch.
Disadvantages of using a Nicotine Patch:
@ It is possible that you get addicted to it. Like cigarettes, nicotine patches too offer generous amounts of nicotine to the body.
@ Skin irritation is possible when you make use of a nicotine patch. If you have sensitive skin then, you need to watch out.
@ If you apply the patch on hairy surface, it might be painful while ripping the patch off.
@ If applied on dirty skin, the patch would come-off on its own accord.
@ Nicotine patches may be expensive for some. They might also lose their nicotine potency if you sweat often.
Electronic Cigarette to Help You Quit Smoking
E cigs have evolved from the early 2000’s to the present day. From regular e cigarettes (that resemble regular cigarettes) to trendy shaped vape devises (Mod, Pod, Pen etc), e cigarettes have indeed revolutionized the way people smoke cigarettes.
Whether electronic cigarettes can indeed help a smoker quit smoking is a debatable topic. After all, both regular cigarettes as well as e cigs offer nicotine in their products. Nicotine is an addictive substance.
Hence, the ongoing debate!
Can You Quit Smoking after Switching to E Cigs?
It is not necessary that electronic cigarettes would contain nicotine. You could vape an e cigarette that has flavored e-juice that is devoid of nicotine.
Nonetheless, when the question revolves around quitting cigarettes then, e cigs might just get the job done. This is via the smoker switching from cigarettes to e cigs.
While doing so, he or she can start with high nicotine e-juices and then, slowly reduce the nicotine potency. Finally after a few weeks, you may opt for zero nicotine level e-liquids. This shall allow the smoker’s body to reduce its nicotine dependency in a slow yet steady fashion.
Nicotine Inhaler for Quitting Smoking
Nicotine inhaler is being widely used for helping smokers quit smoking. How effective they really are is yet to be seen.
Nicotine Inhalers to Stop Smoking:
@ Nicotine inhalers are available in the form of cartridges. They come in a pack of several cartridges.
@ Each inhaler cartridge is fortified with nicotine. For example, a 10 mg cartridge would contain 4mg of nicotine content.
@ Nicotine inhalers are similar to cigarettes. You puff on these and inhale nicotine. Their similarity to cigarettes is what makes them successful with smokers.
@ It takes close to 19 minutes for the nicotine inhaler to finish. So, you can continue puffing for the duration and satisfy your nicotine cravings.
@ Ideally, you can inhale anywhere in between 1 to 5 cartridges daily. The intensity depends on your current level of smoking regular cigarettes.
@ You can use a single cartridge for the entire day. You may switch the devise on and off as per your discretion. After a day of opening the inhaler, the devise should not be used (if its contents are not completely finished).
What are the Advantages of Using Nicotine Inhalers?
@ It imitates a cigarette. Hence, it offers the closest experience that a smoker can expect while smoking cigarettes.
@ You need to get a doctor’s prescription before using an inhaler.
@ Inhalers have been here for the past 3 decades. They have been used successfully by smokers to quit smoking.
@ This quit smoking aid is not as expensive as certain medications available in the market.
@ Nicotine inhaler is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
What are the Disadvantages of Using Nicotine Inhalers?
@ They can be addictive in nature. If you do not make use of them properly, you may get hooked to these.
@ Excessive inhalation of nicotine may cause diarrhea, vomiting, drooling and general weakness.
@ Excess use of nicotine inhalers may lead to extra deposits of nicotine in your body. This may lead to impaired vision and hearing. It may also lead to impaired motor skills.
Nicotine Lozenges for Quitting Smoking
For quitting smoking, yet another aid is in the form of Nicotine Lozenges. These are shaped like any other round shaped candy and need to be sucked (like any other candy). The only difference is that they contain nicotine.
You could either choose to go with 4 mg or 2 mg nicotine consistency lozenges. Instead of smoking a cigarette, you pop a lozenge. The nicotine released via this product shall stop your craving for yet another cigarette.
Need to Know Facts on Nicotine Lozenges:
@ If you smoke more than 15 cigarettes daily then, opt for 4 mg nicotine consistency lozenges.
@ In case you are habitual to smoke a cigarette right after waking up then, the higher nicotine potency is recommended.
@ If you smoke in between 5 to 15 cigarettes daily then, opt for 2 mg lozenges.
@ In case you tend to smoke your first cigarette a few hours post you waking up then, a lower nicotine potency lozenge is just fine.
@ Reduce the dose and consistency of lozenge gradually. You may start the reduction after 30 days. Continue till about 3 months before stopping its usage completely.
@ For the first month, consume a lozenge every 2 hours. Thereafter, reduce this by half. Finally, quit taking them altogether.
@ You may use lozenge with a patch as well. Simply lower the consumption of lozenge while doing so. Consume one lozenge every 4 hours (instead of the usual 2 hour gap).
How do You Consume Nicotine Lozenges the Right Way?
You should consume nicotine lozenges slightly differently. First and foremost, you need to ensure that you do not swallow these. Place them on the sides of your cheeks. This compels the lozenge to press against your molars.
Suck on the lozenge slowly thereby permitting the nicotine to flow into your mouth. The duration for consuming a single lozenge should ideally be 25 minutes. So, there is no rush here.
Moreover, do not take more than a single lozenge at one time. You need to consume these after a gap of at least 1 hour. An ideal gap between 2 lozenges is 2 hours.
You are not supposed to chew or swallow a nicotine lozenge. Allow the juice to flow freely into your mouth. Do not even try to suck it purposefully. Do not eat or drink at least 20 minutes prior and post the consumption of a lozenge.
Pros of Using Nicotine Lozenges:
@ It is an effective way to steer clear of cigarettes. Your chances of quitting smoking increase four-folds.
@ There is no skin irritation caused by lozenges. So, it is relatively free from such adverse side effects.
@ You have the option of choosing from amidst various flavors.
@ It is super-easy to consume lozenges. Simply pop one in your mouth and allow it to dissolve completely (in about 20 minutes).
@ They are readily available at a local drugstore.
Cons of Using Nicotine Lozenges:
@ You need to keep these out of the reach of kids. They may be harmful for animals as well.
@ Excess consumption of lozenges may cause headaches and irritation.
@ Some may suffer from sore throat. An upset digestive system is also a part and parcel of using lozenges.
@ You may feel dizzy after taking too many pills during the day. Your motor skills too may be impacted negatively.
@ If you suffer from oral infections then, avoid using lozenges.
@ Pregnant women and people with cardiac ailments need to consult a doctor before using lozenges.
Nicotine Nasal Spray for Quitting Smoking
Only a healthcare provider can prescribe you a nasal spray meant to help you quit smoking cigarettes. Basically, you need to have a prescription in order to begin using it.
How to Use a Nicotine Nasal Spray?
@ First, clean both nostrils by blowing the muck out. There should be no obstruction in the nasal passage.
@ Place the tip of the nicotine spray’s nozzle into one nostril. Insert it as deep as possible. Then, suck air via your mouth.
@ Repeat the same process with the other nostril. Suck air from the nozzle via your mouth (and not the nostril).
@ Spray the contents of the bottle into the first nostril. Wait for a few seconds before doing the same with the other nostril.
@ You may blow the air out of your nostril after 4 to 5 minutes. Do not blow air immediately as that shall reduce the absorption of nicotine in your nasal passage.
What about its Dosage?
@ A nasal spray delivers nicotine. It allows the smoker to feel relaxed. The smoker also does not need the urge to smoke a cigarette again.
@ For the first 45 days, ideally opt for 5 to 6 doses each day. One dose implies spraying nicotine into each nostril once.
@ After about 45 days, reduce the dosage to about half. Finally, stop using the nasal spray completely.
@ If you suffer from extreme withdrawal symptoms then, you may take as much as 20 doses per day. This implies forty nicotine sprays in a single day.
Pros of Using Nicotine Sprays:
@ It is a great substitute for cigarettes. Sprays provide nicotine that helps a smoker’s body remain calm.
@ These are easily available at local drugstores. Price is not too expensive and a single bottle can deliver in between 190 to 210 sprays.
@ Nasal sprays fortified with nicotine are approved by the FDA.
@ Your chances to quit smoking can easily double when you use nicotine nasal sprays.
Cons of Using Nicotine Nasal Sprays:
@ In the initial phases of using this spray, you may experience itching and burning sensation at the back of the throat.
@ Water running from the eyes and nose and excessive sneezing, is also a part and parcel of using the nasal spray.
@ Some users have complained of water running from their nose. Nonetheless, these symptoms usually disappear after 10 days or so. If they persist then, you should consult a medical representative.
@ If the liquid leaks from the bottle and your pet dog licks it then, the animal may get poisoned. So, keeping the spray away from pets and kids is your utmost responsibility.
@ You may get addicted to nicotine sprays. If you cannot stop using the spray even after 90 days of using it then, you need to consult a doctor.
Points to Take Into Consideration while Opting for Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Nicotine replacement therapy helps smokers quit smoking. Basically, these aids deliver required doses of nicotine to smokers. As time progresses and the doses are reduced, the dependence on nicotine is reduced as well.
Soon, it is completely over and you are smoke-free.
Nonetheless, it is easier said than done. You should opt for nicotine replacement therapy only when you are a heavy smoker. This in turn implies that you smoke more 11 or more cigarette daily.
Moreover, if you cannot stay long without a cigarette then again, you might need nicotine replacement therapy. Basically, your body is overly dependent on nicotine. This is when you need to opt for such options.
If you smoke occasionally then, there is no need to use nicotine replacement therapy. You can quit smoking using your will power alone. Always consult a medical professional before initiating this therapy.
If you are still wondering ‘which stop smoking aid is the most effective’ then, there is no definite answer to this query. Each and every product that falls under the category of ‘quit smoking aids’ is considered effective.
You simply need to learn the correct way of making use of the chosen quit smoking aid. In the coming years, nicotine alternatives via pulse and injections are also in the pipeline.
Nonetheless, in my opinion, the most powerful quit smoking aid is the ‘Human Mind’. It is the most underrated form of transforming an individual.
If you can learn to direct your mind correctly then, you can achieve the impossible. This includes quitting smoking permanently!