Getting quitting right
Nicotine is a mental and physical addiction, as powerful as those caused by heroin
Nicotine nasal spray
- The nicotine is inhaled into
and cocaine. As with other addictive drugs, people can experience withdrawal when
the persons nose from a pump bottle and absorbed
they get less nicotine than they are used to. Symptoms can include irritability,
frustration, anger, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, and craving for
tobacco. One reason cigarettes are so addictive is the very rapid and effective
dose of nicotine delivered to the brain within seconds of inhaling the smoke.
To quit you have to commit. Fully commit. Will power is rarely enough,
especially if you are smoking 10 or more a day. Products that aid in
reducing the craving and withdrawal symptoms are:
Nicotine replacement products
These deliver small, steady doses of nicotine into the body to
relieve some of the withdrawal symptoms, without the “buzz” that
keeps smokers hooked. They also don’t contain the tar and carbon
monoxide that are largely responsible for a cigarette’s dangerous
- Known generically as the nicotine transdermal
system it’s been available for nearly ten years. Each day, a new
patch is applied to a different area of dry, clean, non-hairy skin.
Mild irritation, burning or tingling at the site of the patch when
it is first applied is normal, and disappears within an hour. After
removing the patch, the skin might be red for up to a day.
- Nicotine gum has been available since 1984.
Chewing it releases nicotine into the bloodstream through
the mouth. Unlike gum chewed for pleasure, it
requires a routine. It is chewed slowly until
These products double the chances of quitting smoking. Smokers should choose the method that appeals to them and try a different method if the
A newer product that is being marketed as an aid to quit smoking is the e-cigarette (electronic cigarette). Although marketers claim that this
is a helpful tool that provides doses of nicotine to prevent withdrawal and it mirrors the habit of smoking (which some smokers miss more than
nicotine), conclusive tests have not yet been conducted to ensure this product’s safety.
There is also an anti-smoking pill that reduces nicotine withdrawal symptoms and the urge to smoke. Bupropion hydrochloride (Zyban) contains no
nicotine. It is not known how it works, but seems to have an effect on the chemicals in the brain associated with nicotine addiction.
Bupropion was previously approved as a prescription antidepressant, however, in studies of the drug for smoking cessation, there were no changes
in people’s moods. Common side effects include dry mouth, difficulty sleeping and skin rash. 3 in 1000 people may have an allergic reaction.
While these products can ease the symptoms resulting from the physical addiction to nicotine, group or individual counselling, and encouragement
from family and friends, are critical to help address the mental dependence.
If you are serious about quitting you must have some kind of support, whether its from a formal stop-smoking programme or informal support
from friends and family. This is because nicotine addiction isn’t just physical. Smokers enjoy the smoking behaviour and are used to lighting up in
certain situations. Their whole day has smoking triggers, such as:
• The first cup of tea or coffee in the morning
Useful behavioural tips to help you quit are:
• Get rid of all cigarettes and ashtrays in the home, car, and workplace
• Create other distractions such as fun activities and exercise
• Enrol in a formal stop smoking programme
• Family, friends, and others are there for encouragement and support when the going gets tough
• Keep the rewarding health benefits in mind. If you can’t remember these, hang a list up on your fridge
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