Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tobacco Giving up Items

Smokers may choose from many products to aid in the effort to quit smoking.

Cigarette addiction kills 1,200 people a day in the United States, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Smokers addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes have ceded control over the brain pathways that regulate pleasure. The resulting dependence is as powerful as that of heroine and cocaine addicts on their drugs of choice. If you are addicted and attempt to quit, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms including powerful cravings for nicotine, irritability, poor sleep and difficulty concentrating. While some smokers are able to quit entirely on their own will power, you might want to consider products designed to ease the symptoms of withdrawal.

Nicotine Replacement

Some smoking cessation aids deliver nicotine without tobacco. Nicotine gum and nicotine patches--which the user wears like a band-aid--provide controlled amounts of the drug and were the first such treatments the FDA approved. Other products include nasal sprays, lozenges and inhalers. They may have side effects, including nausea, racing heartbeat, dizziness and vomiting. If you experience these symptoms you should stop using the product immediately. The FDA recommends that you consult your health care professional before electing such treatments, especially if you have a history of heart problems.


Chantix is a drug that stimulates some of the same pleasure receptors in the brain that nicotine targets; it also prohibits nicotine from acting on these pleasure centers if you continue to smoke. The manufacturer does not recommend it for people under 18 years old. In addition to possible physical side effects like nausea, dizziness and vomiting, users may experience strange, vivid and even terrifying dreams; for some people, it may cause depression and suicidal thoughts. You should discontinue use and call your doctor if you experience such symptoms.

Zyban, which has the same ingredients as the antidepressant Wellbutrin, has also helped people quit smoking, though scientists haven't determined exactly how it does so. Antidepressants affect people in different ways, though, so you should talk to your doctor before attempting this method.

Controversial Alternative

The electronic cigarette is another form of nicotine replacement therapy, though it hasn't been approved by the FDA and, as of 2010, the agency was attempting to block distributors from importing the product into the country. The battery-operated device contains a cartridge filled with pure nicotine, which you inhale into your lungs like cigarette smoke. FDA lab tests found trace amounts of carcinogenic and other toxic chemicals in samples of the nicotine solution and, in 2010, scientists had not yet determined the long-range health effects of electronic cigarettes.

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