Medicine Can Help You Quit Tobacco

People who use medicine to quit tobacco are 3 to 4 times more likely to quit than people who try to quit “cold turkey.” Medicine helps lower your withdrawal symptoms and cravings when you are trying to quit.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

NRT medicines have different types of nicotine in them. NRT medicine can lower your tobacco cravings. The nicotine patch, gum, lozenges, nasal spray, and inhalers are NRTs.

Nicotine is safe when used as recommended for quitting tobacco. The chemicals and carbon monoxide in tobacco cause cancer, lung disease, and heart disease.

Common Myths about Nicotine Replacement Therapies

Myth: NRTs may be just as harmful as smoking.

Fact: NRTs do not contain any tar or carbon monoxide found in regular cigarettes and are always much safer than smoking.

Myth: Smoking while using NRT is dangerous.

Fact: Continuing to smoke while using an NRT is no more dangerous than just smoking. However, using both at the same time should be part of an overall plan to quit smoking.

Myth: It is not safe to use more than one NRT at a time.

Fact: Different types of NRTs can be combined with one another for the best effect – for example, the patch with the gum. NRTs may also be given in combination with oral medications, bupropion and varenicline, that are approved for smoking cessation.

Medicines Without Nicotine

Varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion are two medicines you can take to lower urges to keep using tobacco. These medicines do not have nicotine. Your doctor or psychiatrist can prescribe them. Combining medicines usually works better than if you use just one medicine.

Facts about tobacco use

  • You become dependent on nicotine, the drug that is in cigarettes and chewing tobacco.
  • Cigarettes and chewing tobacco have bad chemicals in them, including heavy metals and toxic elements.
  • Your lungs fill up with carbon monoxide when you inhale smoke.
  • The constant cough many smokers have is from all the chemicals and carbon monoxide, not the nicotine itself.
  • You might feel tired because your lungs are full of carbon monoxide, which takes away your energy.

Tips for improving your chances of quitting

  • Quitters are winners. Keep on trying to quit using tobacco and you will eventually succeed. The average person quits six times before it finally works.
  • Use a support group at your treatment agency or in the community to help you quit.
  • See if you can have other smokers in your house quit with you. It is hard to quit smoking if others in your house continue to smoke. It is easier to succeed if everyone is on board with a quitting plan.
  • Think about activities or plans that will help with possible weight gain. You may gain about 10 pounds when you quit, but don’t worry. You can always lose the weight, but you cannot lose cancer or heart disease.

Why quit?

  • You will have more energy and can spend more time doing physical activities.
  • You could have, on average, 56 more dollars in your pocket each week, or about 240 more dollars in your pocket each month, after you quit (based on smoking one pack of cigarettes each day).

Compared to a non-smoker, if you continue to smoke…

  • For women, your chances of getting a lung disease known as COPD can be 38 times higher than a non-smoker.
  • You have a 30% to 40% higher risk of developing diabetes.
  • You are 25 times more likely to have cancer.
  • Your children are more likely to get diseases and have lower success in school from secondhand smoke.

More resources and tips for quitting: