Best ways to stop smoking

December 29, 2011 1:51:09 PM PST
If you want to quit smoking in 2012, there are many options that may help, like the patch, or gum medication.

So which one is best for you?

Besides quitting cold turkey, every option out there has pros and cons. But they can help you quit.

And even if you don't smoke that often, it's still worth it to try and quit.

That's the message of the city health departments newest anti-smoking campaign.

Until January 15th, the city will give you a free kit of nicotine gum or patches to help you quit. It's called nicotine replacement therapy and it's a great place to start.

Dr. Petros Levounis, Director of the Addiction Institute of New York at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital says the patch is easy to hide and gives you a steady release of nicotine. But like everything else it has drawbacks.

"Some people have developed an allergic to the site some people also have very vivid dreams that can be very disturbing," he said.

Another option is a nicotine inhaler. It feels more like a cigarette but not a great idea if you already have breathing problems.

"If you have asthma or if you're prone to respiratory problems it may exacerbate it, make it a little worse," Dr. Levounis adds.

And keep in mind that all nicotine replacers can increase heart rate and blood pressure, so if you have a history of heart problems, check with your doctor even though you don't need a prescription.

Studies have shown that if you have the assistance of a doctor or clinician you're up to two times more likely to quit successfully for at least 5 months

And your doctor can also offer medication. There are two that are FDA approved.

First, Bupropion also known by the brand names Zyban or Wellbutrin. It's also an antidepressant

"If the patient also suffers from depression then Buproprion is the medication of choice, but it can't be used on people with seizure disorders and not good for people with anxiety it makes it worse," adds Dr. Levounis.

The other option is Varenicline also known as Chantix.

"It blocks the nicotine receptors so you don't feel it so you get disapoinged," he adds.

Both medications have a black box label warning of potential suicidal thoughts but not everyone is affected the same way.


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