Whenever it is time to have yet another go at quitting smoking, it is useful to understand which quit smoking support options are best to help you on your way to being a long term non-smoker. After all, it is very unusual for people to quit smoking without any form of support, whether it be from a drug, doctor, group or book or some other source.
There are two things any would be quitter needs to understand before embarking on yet another quit attempt – and let’s face it, it probably wont be the first time! Firstly, what are your chances of even getting past day 3 and secondly, once you have gotten past day 3, what are my chances of turning that into 12 months and onwards for the rest of my life?
There are many drugs available on the market to help smokers try and beat the nicotine habit. The most common pharmaceutical therapies for quit smoking support are nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), zyban which is also known as wellbutrin or bupropion and chantix, also known as varenicline or champix.
These drugs have been developed at great cost so there is a lot of money at stake for the pharmaceutical giants. It is fair to say that they are actually helpful in getting smokers to quit the habit but long term results are questionable.
Smokers who quit without any education, therapy or support stand a 5% chance of successfully quitting smoking. NRT gives smokers a 1 in 10 chance of success, whilst zyban and chantix take those percentageages to 16% and 22% respectively. Incidentally, Pfizer claim that chantix is ??44% effective but experts agree this is not the case and that Pfizer’s research is biased in favor of their drug (unsurprisingly).
The problem with all these drugs as quit smoking support therapies is that while they help deal with the psychoactive effects of nicotine (apart from NRT which just prolongs nicotine addiction), they do not deal with the emotional relationship you have with cigarettes. As a result, smokers may successfully overcome smoking but they rarely increase their relationship with smoking and pine for cigarettes after quitting. It is a bit like being a spurned lover.
Let me explain. Smokers know that smoking is bad for them but they still do it because they love it. The analogy is for you being with someone you love but just know they are plain bad for you. I am sure you can think of examples from your own or friends lives! Once the lovers are separated for all the right reasons, it does not stop them pining for one another.
How does not dealing with the psychological aspects of smoking manifest itself? Smokers yearn to smoke for weeks, months, years and even decades after having quit smoking. As such, they are at constant risk of going back to smoking. Over 90% of long term quitters – people who have been off tobacco products for years – did so without any patches, pills or potions. (reported by American Cancer Society Facts and Figures 2003)
There are of course other treatments such as hypnosis and acupuncture and laser therapy. There are even ‘mystery’ herbal remedies to help you quit smoking. None of these of course have ever been proven to be effective in the long term, but anecdotally, there have been successes of course. Statistically speaking though, success rates are no better than going cold turkey without any quit smoking support.
Alternately, you can turn to quit smoking support forums to help you increase your nicotine addiction, but as I have written before, these forums will definitely serve to prolong your deprivation and feeling of loss when you quit smoking. If you are constantly reading a writing about smoking, guess what is on your mind all the time? That’s right, smoking!
It is like going on a diet that restricts your eating, all you ever do is think about food! Sure the forums are set up in good faith but I wonder if their real value is questionable.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is another form of quit smoking support and it works without the intervention of drugs, hypnosis or any hocus pocus herbal remedies. It works by simply deconstructing a smokers relationship with tobacco, piece by piece and then examining that relationship in detail. Often, it turns everything you think you know about smoking on its head.
The end result, once you have covered the 20 or so ‘fragments’ of your understanding of smoking, is that you simply do not want to smoke anymore so it becomes easy to quit. What’s more, people who quit using cognitive behavioral therapy often know that they will never smoke again once they put out their last cigarette because of the way it works on their psychological relationship with smoking. Quitting becomes a ‘non-event’ a bit like buying bread!
If you are a smoker, that will sound incredible and unbelievable but remember, until 500 years ago, the world was flat and everything in the universe was centred around it!
As ever, if you are trying to quit smoking, it is important for you to find the solution that is not 10%, 20% or 90% effective, it is important that you find the method that is 100% effective for you. Never stop trying to quit.