Smoking, Quit? or Reduce?

How to Quit Smoking
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There are several ways to stop smoking, but ultimately, you need to decide whether you are going to:. Research that compared abrupt quitting with reducing smoking found that neither produced superior quit rates over the other, so choose the method that best suits you. Here are some tips recommended by the American Cancer Society to help you to prepare for your quit date:.

Daily activities - such as getting up in the morning, finishing a meal, and taking a coffee break - can often trigger your urge to smoke a cigarette. But breaking the association between the trigger and smoking is a good way to help you to fight the urge to smoke. You will almost certainly feel the urge to smoke many times during your quit day, but it will pass.

The following actions may help you to battle the urge to smoke:. Going cold turkey , or quitting smoking without the help of NRT, medication, or therapy, is a popular way to give up smoking. However, only around 6 percent of these quit attempts are successful. It is easy to underestimate how powerful nicotine dependence really is.

NRT can reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms you experience that may hinder your attempt to give up smoking. NRTs are designed to wean your body off cigarettes and supply you with a controlled dose of nicotine while sparing you from exposure to other chemicals found in tobacco. The U.

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If you have decided to go down the NRT route, discuss your dose with a healthcare professional before you quit smoking. Remember that while you will be more likely to quit smoking using NRT, the goal is to end your addiction to nicotine altogether, and not just to quit tobacco. Contact your healthcare professional if you experience dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, fast or irregular heartbeat, mouth problems, or skin swelling while using these products.

The FDA have approved two non-nicotine-containing drugs to help smokers quit. These are bupropion Zyban and varenicline Chantix. Talk to your healthcare provider if you feel that you would like to try one of these to help you to stop smoking, as you will need a prescription. Bupropion acts on chemicals in the brain that play a role in nicotine craving and reduces cravings and symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Bupropion is taken in tablet form for 12 weeks, but if you have successfully quit smoking in that time, you can use it for a further 3 to 6 months to reduce the risk of smoking relapse.

Varenicline interferes with the nicotine receptors in the brain, which results in reducing the pleasure that you get from tobacco use, and decreases nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

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Varenicline is used for 12 weeks, but again, if you have successfully kicked the habit, then you can use the drug for another 12 weeks to reduce smoking relapse risk. Risks involved with using these drugs include behavioral changes, depressed mood, aggression, hostility, and suicidal thoughts or actions.

Think positive

The emotional and physical dependence you have on smoking makes it challenging to stay away from nicotine after your quit day. To quit, you need to tackle this dependence. Trying counseling services, self-help materials, and support services can help you to get through this time. As your physical symptoms get better over time, so will your emotional ones.

A subsequent study found no evidence of a reduction HR, 0. There is convincing evidence that short-term reductions do decrease the levels of various biological markers of carcinogen exposure or cancer-related changes [ 47 ], but the significance for reduced risk is unclear.

Only one study has examined the risk of admission to hospital with COPD exacerbation in relation to reduced exposure and found an HR of 0. There is clear evidence indicating that reduced smoking decreases COPD and asthma symptoms but not lung function [ 47 ]. The interpretation of epidemiological data related to the health benefits of smoking reduction is complex due to three key issues.

Firstly, most epidemiological studies measure smoking on two occasions only but make the implicit assumption that smoking reduction measured at the second occasion has been maintained for the entire duration of follow-up.

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This is problematic since it is clear that smokers experience several phases of trying to reduce then reverting and therefore this reduced consumption may not have been maintained for long. Secondly, few studies have used biomarkers of exposure. It is therefore unclear whether those who reduce their smoking frequency and partially compensate by smoking each cigarette more intensively go on to adjust in the long-term [ 52 ].

In these cases, the health benefits of reduction would not be as great as might be predicted from the known dose-response relation.

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Thirdly, all of these studies have included smokers who have reduced without the use of concurrent nicotine. Laboratory data show that, even at high doses, NRT with concomitant smoking has fewer acute effects on biomarkers of cardiovascular risk compared with smoking alone in the short term [ 53 ].

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This review has been withdrawn. The reason for withdrawal and previous versions are archived and accessible within the withdrawn record in. There is evidence to suggest that reducing smoking before quitting would be popular with smokers. This means that offering this approach to.

The only available long-term studies assessing the health consequences of concurrent use of nicotine and smoked tobacco concern snus; a systematic review of 21 relevant studies found that, in most, the evidence suggested that dual use was associated with reduced risks of all smoking-related conditions compared with smoking alone [ 54 ]. However, these studies were not formally statistically combined and, since the benefits were modest and studies small, few risks were individually statistically significant.

Smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit would benefit from a gradual reduction in the number of daily cigarettes smoked given its benefit in the likelihood of achieving cessation. Combining reduction attempts with clean nicotine leads to greater reduction and cessation rates. Indeed, e-cigarettes show particular promise since they appeal to smokers and may help them achieve cessation.

Nevertheless, their rapid evolution, with newer models outpacing older devices tested in currently published efficacy trials, presents a challenge for researchers and clinicians. Finally, evidence that reduced smoking decreases the harm from smoking is suggestive, but not conclusive.

The lack of detailed characterisation of the extent and length of smoking reduction in relation to health outcomes makes it difficult to determine the health benefits. Given the uncertainty of this evidence and the clear benefits of total smoking cessation, the focus in harm reduction should remain on promoting cessation through reduction rather than on reduction as an end goal. Competing interests. RB and NL-H have no competing interests.

PA performed one day of consulting for Pfizer on smoking cessation. All authors approved the final manuscript.

Scientists look at smokers' brain activity before and after quitting

Rachna Begh, Email: ku. Nicola Lindson-Hawley, Email: ku. Paul Aveyard, Email: ku.

National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. BMC Med. Published online Oct Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer.

Corresponding author. Received Jul 7; Accepted Sep This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Background Promoting and supporting smoking reduction in smokers with no immediate intention of stopping smoking is controversial given existing fears that this will deter cessation and that reduction itself may not improve health outcomes. Discussion Evidence shows that smokers who reduce the number of daily cigarettes smoked are more likely to attempt and actually achieve smoking cessation.

Summary The combined data imply that smoking reduction is a promising intervention, particularly when supported by clean nicotine; however, the benefits are only observed when it leads to permanent cessation. Keywords: Harm reduction, Nicotine, Smoking. Background Smoking reduction, defined herein as a decrease in the number of cigarettes smoked per day, is a strategy used by smokers to moderate the health and financial effects of smoking and ease towards complete cessation [ 1 ].

Comparing reducing smoking to quit with abrupt quitting.

Reduction may lead to complete cessation Several theoretical factors indicate that smoking reduction promotes rather than deters cessation. Supporting smoking reduction and subsequent cessation The aim of smoking reduction is to decrease the exposure to tobacco toxins and facilitate subsequent cessation. Can smoking reduction without cessation benefit health? Summary Smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit would benefit from a gradual reduction in the number of daily cigarettes smoked given its benefit in the likelihood of achieving cessation.

Contributor Information Rachna Begh, Email: ku.

References 1. McNeill A. Harm reduction. West R, Brown J. Smoking toolkit study: monthly tracking of key performance indicators. Smoking in England. Accesed 28 Aug Harm reduction approaches to reducing tobacco-related mortality.