Thursday, March 6, 2014

Quit Smoking

No more hacking coughs. No more shelling out money to "Big Tobacco" day after day. No more shortness of breath and no more social alienation. It's time to quit smoking, for good.

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Consider Chemical Treatments

Chemical treatments tend to be the most effective, because they do the most to alleviate the physical addiction to nicotine. Natural treatments tend to alleviate only the psychological addiction, which is powerful but less disabling and painful. You should always discuss chemical treatments with your doctor before you use them to quit smoking, as they can all have side effects on certain users. Read up on products, and if one appeals to you and it's approved by your doctor, try it.

Zyban is the marketing name for the antidepressant drug bupropion hydrochloride. These are basically "happy pills" intended to lessen or eliminate the nicotine withdrawal symptoms. To use Zyban, start taking the pills a week or two before you quit smoking so they start working. Zyban is only available by prescription and it should not be used with any other antidepressant drugs. You must be sure to tell your doctor about any other medications you are using when you ask him to prescribe Zyban for you.

Nicotine patches are small, self-adhesive patches for your skin so nicotine can enter your bloodstream at a steady rate all day. When you smoke or use other nicotine-replacement therapies, you get a "spike" of high nicotine level in your blood, which then lowers until you feel the need to take another dose and top up your nicotine levels. The patch just keeps you at a steady level all the time, and gets you accustomed to that without expecting to have occasional high levels. Patches come in different strengths. Progress from the strongest one to the weakest available, and eventually cease to use them altogether.

The advantages of nicotine patches are that they provide you with a steady supply of nicotine so you don't have to think about it. They work in any situation (although you can't wear them in swimming pools or while bathing). The disadvantages of nicotine patches are that they are relatively expensive. They can also irritate the skin on which they are placed or cause you to have weird dreams and not sleep very well if you wear them after you go to bed. If you don't wear them after you go to bed, it can be a bit rough in the morning before you get a patch on and it starts working. Though they provide a strong deterrent to smoking, if you smoke while you are wearing one or for hours after taking one off, you could suffer a nicotine overdose.

Nicotine gum helps you quit by providing you with a source of nicotine apart from smoking. It comes in different strengths (usually 4 mg or 2 mg of nicotine per piece), and you choose one based on how much you smoke. Nicotine gum, like any nicotine-replacement therapy, allows you to deal with the physical component of addiction over a longer period of time with less drastic withdrawal symptoms. As long as you don't exceed the amount suggested by the directions, you take it when you need it so you can cut down on your nicotine as quickly or as slowly as you want. It is also relatively inexpensive and it provides some oral gratification of its own to replace the cigarettes. However, you can't chew it while drinking soda or alcoholic beverages. It can also make you feel sick if you chew it too fast and it takes a long time for it to work. So if you wait too long between pieces, you can become extremely irritable while waiting for the piece you're chewing to affect you.

Nicotine inhalers and nasal sprays work according to the same principle as the gum, but are different in design. Nicotine inhalers are shaped like little cigarettes. When you suck on them, they release a mist of nicotine into your lungs. The nasal spray is like the product you use for nasal congestion, only when you pump it into your nostril it sprays nicotine in your nasal cavity. These work much more quickly than gum and can be used in any situation and whenever they are needed. Since the inhaler is very much like a cigarette, it makes a good replacement. The sprays and inhalers can have many side effects, however, like burning of the nasal tissues or throat, stomach ache and nausea. They are more also expensive than the gum.

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