The pity is the vast majority of smokers start as tweens or teens - easily influenced by media, marketing, peer pressure, that burning desire to look grown up and be the popular one - and that feeling of immortality - "it won't hurt me I can quit any time I want."
Smoking is an addiction - yes people get addicted to different extents. Addiction is a complex brain disease with symptomology of compulsive or uncontrollable cravings, & continued use of the substance - even though the user knows its detrimental torment of the body. An addiction control's the brain, thereby controls a person's behavior - explaining the compulsive aspect of the disease. As with drug addictions the underlying changes to the brain from the tobacco smoke necessitates the smoker to seek more and more to avoid withdrawal. Smoking hits the brain faster than any other drug, especially with the help of the diabolical filters designed by the tobacco industry.
A behavior is our action on thoughts and feelings based on our response to internal (brain) & external ( environmental) stimuli. Smoking, as any unhealthy habit has an environmental, biological & behavioral stimuli. To treat the addiction, we need to make sure we are addressing all 3 aspects of each individual's smoking habit.
And consistent with that are our cold hard facts. Statistically, the greatest quit rate at the 1 year mark is:
Pharmacotherapy + Behavioral Counseling = Success
The combination of both, is more effective than either alone.
The same is true with prescription meds - get the addiction assessed carefully, there are contraindications - & use in conjunction with behavioral therapy.
However, depending on the number of CPD (cigarettes per day) and a few other factors, a behavioral counsellor can assess if pharmacotherapy is beneficial.
The long term (over 150 days) of unaided quit attempts, "cold turkey", is a measly 3%-5%.
The Long term success over 2 years is much higher with the addition of behavioral counseling, vs. NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) or prescription medications. Again, we need to address all aspects of the addiction for long term smoking abstinence.
There are many forms of NRT now available, in varying dosages: The Patch, nicotine inhaler, nicotine gum, mouth spray & lozenges. There is a great deal of thought that goes into the choice - a good behavioral counsellor can do a an assessment - and together figure out the right choice.
NRT helps minimize withdrawal symptoms which helps smokers hang on through the rough spots. And yes, it can be very helpful in a reduce to quit program choice.
But again, every person's case needs to be assessed and the level of dependence needs to be determined - it is not just about cigarettes per day.
Serious life threatening habits have been etched into the brain. It takes an analytical approach to "unetch" the deadly path. Consult an expert, to determine your unique quit smoking program.
Shira Litwack, Medical Fitness Professional... proud creator of thousands of health enthusiasts & corporate health cultures world wide...
Medical Fitness Professional,Lifestyle & Weight Management Health Coach, Fitness & Nutrition for chronic illness recovery, Smoking Cessation Counsellor
Radio Talk Show Host/Producer bestinhealthradio
Director of Health Mentoring & External Resources Canada For International Center of Excellence The Obesity Control Center with Dr. Ariel Ortiz