Health Topics

Pharmacological Treatments to Help Quit Smoking

Why Is It So Hard to Quit Smoking?

If you smoke cigarettes, your family members and friends have probably voiced their concerns by saying something like, “Smoking is so bad for you, why do you do it?”

People start smoking for different reasons. They might think it will help calm their nerves, make them look more mature or be an adventure. But it wasn’t the best choice and now they really do want to quit. So why is it so hard?

It is hard to quit smoking because the nicotine in cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products gets you hooked. Most people try as many as three times to quit before they succeed. Look at smoking cessation as a process as opposed to a one-time event. That way, if you do slip, you can focus on what you can do differently to prevent future slips and relapses. Don’t give up – you’ll get there.

Benefits of Quitting

You’ve probably heard a lot about how smoking is harmful, but here are some positive things you can look forward to when you do quit. If you quit, you will:

  • Prolong your life
  • Improve your health
  • Feel healthier (Smoking can cause coughing, poor athletic ability and sore throats.)
  • Look better (Smoking can cause face wrinkles, stained teeth and dull skin.)
  • Improve your sense of taste and smell
  • Save money (Most smokers spend about $90 a month on cigarettes.)

Smoking Increases Complications for Those Who Have Diabetes

While smoking can increase your chances of getting diabetes, it can also make managing diabetes more difficult for those who already have it. Other complications of smoking for diabetics include retinopathy (eye disease), heart disease, stroke, vascular disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, foot problems and many others.

What Options Do People Have?

Some people try quitting on their own before they go to their doctor, but your doctor can offer pointers and suggest medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter, that can help you “kick the habit” more easily. Tell your doctor what types of products you might try to help you quit so he or she can make sure they won’t interact with other medicines you are taking. Remember, there is no “magic bullet” when it comes to quitting smoking. Quitting requires persistent effort. You have to quit totally and permanently.

How Could Research Benefit Smokers Who Want to Quit?

Researchers are testing a vaccine that could make quitting easier. This type of treatment could potentially be used in a program, along with bupropion (Zyban) and counseling, to significantly reduce withdrawal symptoms.