Anyone who’s anyone knows that it’s seriously un-cool – not to mention expensive – to smoke nowadays; we don’t blame you for deciding to quit the habit. But although nearly half of all smokers in the United Kingdom try to stop every year, only 2-3% succeed. Talk about some tough odds…
There’s no shortage of options when it comes to giving up the death sticks – 'Sophie’s Choice' comes to mind – but how exactly should you go about it?
Read on for a breakdown of your five most scientifically valid options (and why none of them are anywhere near as good as vaping…)
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
Inhalers, nasal sprays, lozenges, gum, skin patches… when it comes to NRT the possibilities are endless. Each method delivers nicotine slowly to the user and is designed to help wean smokers off the death sticks by slowly reducing cravings whilst soothing hellish withdrawal symptoms – and the stats say it works.
A scientific literature review that looked at more than 150 different tests of these devices (accounting for more than 50,000 people) showed that the likelihood someone would quit when using them increased by 50-70%. No one method seemed to work better than the other, nor did these devices work any better (or worse) with counselling.
All sound good? Your GP can prescribe NRT or you can buy it from a pharmacist.
Why E-cigs are better: Although the nicotine replacement soothes your cravings, you won’t get to perform the physical act of smoking, which you have become so accustomed to. Vaping allows you to get your nicotine fix whilst still getting your smoking breaks and keeping your routine; this in the long run will make the transition from smoker to non-smoker a whole lot easier.
If you want to go down the prescription route, then you’ll need to talk to your GP. As far as proven success goes, most stop smoking professionals are on the fence. Some success has been seen, especially if used in conjunction with NRT; a drug called cytisine was recently tested in Poland and found to help reduce smoking. About 8% of smokers still didn’t smoke after a year, compared to about 2% of those on placebo.
Other commonly used drugs include bupropion and Varenicline (brand name Chantix) which work by targeting the nicotine receptors in your brain so that you don’t get as much pleasure from smoking; they also lower your feelings of withdrawal. A recent study has shown that taking Chantix can more than double your chances of quitting, compared to going cold turkey.
Why e-cigs are better: Many of these drugs have unpleasant side effects, including constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, and unusual tiredness or weakness. Sometimes side effects can be altogether more severe, causing allergic reactions, a slow heart rate, and very high or very low blood pressure. Who wants to be dealing with that?
Sometimes the best way to ensure you see something through is to put yourself – well, in this case your money – on the line.
A recent study carried out by the New England Journal of Medicine looked at 2,500 people enrolled in a finance incentive quit smoking program – and results were promising.
The program worked on the premise that a person deposited $150 first, and would get that back plus $650 more if they successfully refrained from smoking for the duration of the 12 month programme.
Counselling, advice and NRT were also offered to all participants, and 52.3% of then successfully managed to quit.
Another programme offered participants an $800 incentive, but they didn’t have to put down any of their own hard earned cash as a deposit. Only 17.1% of this group managed to quit, implying that potential loss of one’s own money is more effective in getting people to quit than simply offering a larger pay out.
Why E-cigs are better: As great as it sounds to get money for quitting smoking, it’s difficult to find a programme that offers this. Furthermore, the potential of losing a bulk of your own money isn’t feasible for some people; vaping means you can quit smoking at your own pace, and inevitable slip ups won’t be punished!
This method isn’t one for the faint hearted; anyone planning to quit this way should be prepared for some serious withdrawal symptoms and a hard slog. It can be done though – and studies show 4-7% of people have managed to quit this way for good. Taking long walks, breathing deeply and mediation have all been known to make quitting cold turkey and managing cravings a little easier.
Why E-cigs are better: Unless you’re a masochist, you’ll want to make the process of quitting smoking as painless as possible. By using E-cigarettes, you’ll be able to control cravings, soothe withdrawal symptoms and still practice the motion of smoking. Sounds better than suffering Cold Turkey to us…
Love really is the best medicine, according to a recent study following couples attempting to quit smoking together; in the journal ‘JAMA Internal Medicine’ it was reported that just under half of the male participants were successful in their attempt to quit if their partner also quit, compared to 8% success if their partner did not stop. Similarly, half of women managed to wean themselves off the cigs if their male partners also quit smoking. Evidently, positive peer pressure is greatly helpful!
Why E-cigs are better: We don’t all have a partner to quit with… Whereas even Single Pringles can benefit from the 'stop smoking' powers of vaping. Need we say more?
To Sum Up…
In the year up to April 2015, two out of three people who used e-cigarettes in combination with the NHS stop smoking service quit smoking successfully. So what are you waiting for – get yourself a vape kit and start your smoke-free journey today!