Quitting smoking is one of the most important ways to reduce your risk of cancer, since smoking causes at least 16 different types of the disease. Ditching the cigarettes is the best thing you can do for your health and the health of those around you, and will save you a lot of money.
You don’t need to do it the hard way. Cold turkey works for some people but not everyone. You can really increase your chance of success if you address all three aspects of a smoking addiction – the physical cravings for nicotine, as well as the habits and emotions that lead you to reach for a cigarette.
For the physical addiction, nicotine replacement products such as patches and gum can help manage cravings in the initial days and weeks, allowing you to focus on replacing bad habits with new, healthy routines.
Here are five reasons to use nicotine replacement products.
- They are safe
Using nicotine replacement products to quit is always safer than continuing to smoke, since they do not contain the dangerous chemicals found in tobacco smoke. The products provide a low dose of nicotine that’s absorbed more slowly compared to the higher, rapidly absorbed dose of nicotine in a cigarette.
Don’t worry if you slip up and have a smoke when you’re wearing a patch or using other nicotine replacement products – you can’t “overdose” on nicotine by having a cigarette while wearing a patch or using gum, lozenge or spray.
- They are effective
There is strong evidence that combining personalised coaching (such as the Quitline) to help you break habits with nicotine replacement products increases your chance of success. Nicotine replacement products reduce the number and strength of cravings, so you can reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms and focus on beating bad habits. Why put yourself through cravings when you don’t need to?
- They are not expensive
Australian smokers can obtain nicotine patches at a discount with a prescription from a doctor. With the current leading brand of cigarettes now priced at more than $26 a pack, nicotine replacement products are far cheaper in comparison and after a short period, you won’t need them anymore. It’s not an ongoing cost like smoking. Someone who uses patches plus a gum, lozenge or spray plus Quitline coaching to quit will spend about $310 over 12 weeks (less if you have a health care card or a GP prescription for patches). Compare that to the cost of cigarettes over 12 weeks, which is $2,100 for a pack a day smoker.
- They are not addictive
Nicotine replacement products contain far less nicotine than cigarettes, and your body absorbs this nicotine more slowly. There is no evidence that you are likely to become dependent on nicotine replacement products. When used correctly, they are a very safe option for smokers.
- Mix it up for the best result
Try using a slow-acting nicotine product such as a patch (to reduce withdrawal symptoms like being cranky or having a headache) together with a fast-acting product such as gum, a lozenge or inhaler to beat sudden, strong cravings. As the days pass, you’ll have fewer and weaker urges to smoke. Even if the cravings have gone away, don’t stop using the patches early – use them for the recommended 12 weeks to make sure you’ve well and truly beaten that physical addiction.
Remember, adding personalised coaching will increase your chances of success even more. Call the Quitline on 13 7848 and, for the cost of a telephone call, get information on how to use nicotine replacement products and lots of tips and tricks that have helped thousands of smokers beat their habits.
Visit www.quit.org.au to help understand your smoking habits and plan a quit attempt, or phone the Quitline on 13 78 48 for personalised, non-judgemental coaching and information.
Read about smoking trends over the last 8 years