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Posted on 01-27-2014

cigarette buttEvery day we hear something about the status of healthcare and the economy. Quitting smoking is one significant thing one can do for themselves to benefit both of these areas.  At one pack per day, a smoker spends close to $2000.00 per year on cigarettes. Then consider the cost of visits to the doctor for ailments associated with smoking. The Great American Smokeout is in November every year .  It presents an opportunity to clean up and fulfill a goal to break this expensive habit.  If that is not enough, consider that it is no longer socially acceptable, it is responsible for one in three cases of cancer and one in five cases of other illnesses. It is also a direct link to chronic respiratory conditions such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and Emphysema.  The good news is that it is never too late to improve these odds by quitting.

First step is the decision to quit. The key to success is to want to quit. Then choose a method to help. Here are the pros and cons to some available methods:

 Prescription drugs:

 Varenicline (Chantix):  44% efficacy rate

Pros:      Block Nicotine receptors in the brain, thus reducing the desire for Nicotine

Cons:     Twelve week treatment process

Possible side effects: Emotional imbalance such as agitation, depression, skin reactions, nausea, vomiting, digestive upset. More severe reactions are swelling of the throat, face, or mouth.

Bubpropion hydrochloride (Zyban):  30% efficacy rate

Pros:      Helps with Nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Designed to be used with replacement therapy products.

Cons:     Twelve week treatment process

                  Possible side effects:  Dry mouth, sleep issues, dizziness, headaches, skin rash

Replacement Therapy: 

Nicotine gum, lozenges, patches:  50-60% efficacy rate

Pros:      Minimal side effects

                  No prescription required

Cons:     Twelve week treatment process

                  Prolongs Nicotine dependence

Natural Methods:

Hypnosis: 70-80% efficacy rate

Pros:      Immediate benefit

                  No side effects

Cons:     Finding a qualified Hypnotist

Acupuncture:  70-80% efficacy rate

Pros:      No side effects

                  Provides other health benefits

                  Practitioner guidance

Cons:     Frequently need multiple treatments

                  Up to three weeks treatment process

Cold Laser:  70-80% efficacy rate

Pros:      Immediate benefit

                  Painless

                  Cost effective

Cons:     None

There are various options to help a person beat the addiction, but the key is the desire to quit.  There is no magic medicine for quitting smoking, but there are tools available to help achieve that goal.  Some additional resources for guidance and the Great American Smokeout are cancer.org and smokefree.gov.

                 

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