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They say that the only thing tougher than quitting smoking is giving up heroin, but when you consider the fact that heroin isn't sold at every corner store throughout the country, quitting smoking might actually be more difficult. The Internet is full of "miracle cures" for just about any ailment, and nicotine addiction is no exception, but how many of them actually work? Let's take a look at just a few of the most prominent ways you can go about kicking the smoking habit once and for all.
We've all seen and heard the annoying advertising for nicotine gum, and while it has worked for thousands of people, there are two major problems that many people have with the gum. First, it actually costs more than cigarettes to use, and since the financial impact of cigarettes is often the impetus for people to finally seek help and quit, the gum is simply not possible to use. Second, you are still feeding your system nicotine, albeit in smaller amounts, which is the substance you are trying to give up in the first place. The same goes for the patch or the new nicotine lozenge.
If you can't afford the gum or the patch, you probably don't have the budget for the two main medications currently prescribed by most doctors: Bupropion (also known as Zyban) and Varenicline tartrate (known as Champix).
Zyban is an antidepressant that can help control your cravings and cheer you up a little bit at the same time.
Champix may sound like a breakfast cereal, but it actually does the impossible: it tricks your brain into making smoking less enjoyable.
Depending on the insurance plan your employer has, you may be able to get some help in paying for these meds, but you will need to see a doctor first before you can get a prescription.
Most municipalities now offer free or very low cost group counselling sessions for people looking to give up the cancer sticks. Think AA but slightly less depressing. For many folks, simply being able to have someone listen to what they are going through and realizing that their struggle is far from unique is enough to motivate them to keep the cigarettes in the pack where they belong. Some people prefer one-on-one counselling but that often comes with a higher price tag. Talk to your employer to see what kind of support, if any, they cover.
Opinions vary wildly about the merits of quitting cold turkey. The Canadian Lung Association recommends setting a date and then quitting completely on that day, while other organizations feel that a gradual drawdown of the amount you smoke is far more effective and helps to prevent relapses. One area that both sides can agree on is that you are, most likely, going to slip up and that you shouldn't punish yourself. The pull of nicotine on the human body is one of the strongest addictions known to man, studies have shown it is even stronger than the temptation to mute that darn ShamWow commercial.
Now we're getting into territory that sometimes is recognized for unscrupulous practitioners. Just like chiropractors, there are some people out there that believe wholeheartedly that hypnosis helped them quit smoking. Some qualified (and most unqualified) psychologists use hypnosis as part of their therapy, but there is no real clinical proof that hypnosis can genuinely help you give up smoking. Many people look to hypnosis as an absolute last resort once they have tried everything else. The recommendation here is to avoid it since you never know what may happen.
If you have never checked your local bookstore for self help-quitting smoking books before, you might be surprised to see row after row of questionable-looking guides promising you the world if you just shell out $19.95. These books fall under the same motivational guise as seeing a counsellor, except you have to read the mindless information being pumped into your head instead of hearing it, well, unless you get the audio book version. There is nothing wrong with believing in yourself and convincing yourself that you don't need cigarettes anymore, but if you need a shyster to tell you this, you may need more help than you think.
If you are considering acupressure as your weapon against nicotine cravings, you have reached a point of true desperation. Acupressure is a "science" that believes simply applying pressure to the right pressure points at the right time can disrupt pain, suffering and nicotine cravings. It isn't such a far-out idea when you consider we have an entire generation of button-mashing video game addicts with three-pack-a-day smoking habits. You might want to read a book or two on this subject before you go around poking yourself. Don't laugh; it has been proven to be an effective method for some people.
Ah, now we're getting somewhere. There have been mountains of well written studies that show that a proper diet rich in vitamins and minerals and bereft of things like caffeine, alcohol and processed foods can help reduce your bodies' dependence on nicotine. Simply do what you can to avoid putting yourself in situations where you are prone to reach for a smoke. If you are used to smoking after a pleasant evening to relax, you may want to try just snuggling with that favourite person instead.