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Ways to Quit Smoking: Nicotine Replacement Therapy, Cold Turkey and Behavioral Therapy

Although smoking cigarettes was once considered glamorous or hip, it has lost much of its appeal for many. There are many different ways and reasons why people choose to stop smoking, and just as many cessation methods that could be considered. Nicotine replacement therapy, quitting cold turkey, and behavioral therapy are all popular tools that can be used.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy, or NRT, may be ideal for individuals who are extremely dependent on nicotine. There are several options for replacement therapy, including skin patches, gum, nasal sprays, and lozenges. By gradually decreasing doses of nicotine, cravings for it are reduced and smokers are less likely to go through the withdrawal symptoms that can occur after one quits smoking. Nicotine replacement therapy may boost a person's chances of successfully quitting smoking. For the best results, NRT should be the started the same day the individual attempts to stop smoking.

There are several problems with NRTs that people should be aware of. The chances of successful cessation decrease if one does not start NRT the first day they quit smoking. It can cause a nicotine overdose if taken with other nicotine products or if not taken according to the instructions. Additionally, problems may arise if heat is used near a nicotine patch. In general, NRT may cause side effects such as nausea, headaches, and difficulty sleeping. Problems may arise if they are used by pregnant women, too.

Cold Turkey

The complete cessation of smoking without any aids is known as quitting cold turkey. This is the total and sudden discontinuation of all nicotine, as opposed to its gradual discontinuation. It costs nothing to go cold turkey, which is a major benefit for many who worry about the cost of quitting smoking. Additionally, within 20 minutes of stopping cold turkey, a person's body begins to reap the first benefits of quitting.

A negative side of quitting cold turkey is that it is extremely hard, with only between 3 and 13 percent of people being able to stop this way without any help. Another con of going cold turkey is the risk of withdrawal. People who are addicted to nicotine may experience withdrawal symptoms when they abruptly stop using it. These symptoms are only temporary, but they can be intense and may include irritability, cigarette cravings, sore throat, nausea, constipation, and excessive hunger. Nicotine withdrawal is often likened to having the flu.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy may help people quit smoking by allowing them to cope with the issues or triggers that may contribute to the behavior. This involves working with a counselor. Counselors may help individuals find ways not to smoke, train them in problem-solving, and help them to develop the skills needed to cope with cravings. One of the most common behavioral therapies is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Behavioral therapy may work best when combined with other treatments options. This could be considered a negative aspect of behavioral therapy, as it has a low success rate if it is used as a sole method of cessation.