When it comes to butting out, you don’t have to go it alone. There are quit-aids available to suit every personality and preference – from alternative therapies to medical interventions. Which one suits your style?

Pharmaceutical Methods

Brupopion:
This prescription anti-depressant medication inhibits the release of dopamine and noradrenaline in your body, which helps to prevent cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and weight gain that often accompanies giving up cigarettes. It is used by people with or without a history of alcoholism or depression. Studies also support the use of Brupopion in combination with NRT and other quit techniques.

This medication should not be used by someone who experiences seizures. Known side effects of over-dose include rapid heart rate and convulsions. Mild effects include dry mouth and insomnia, and allergic reactions occur in 3% of patients who use Brupopion. Bruponion can also cause sexual side effects including decreased libido and inability to climax. Talk to your doctor to learn whether Brupopion is right for you.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT):
NRT is used to gradually reduce the amount of nicotine in your bloodstream, and eventually wean you from the chemical addiction. Studies show that using NRT in the form of a gum, inhaler, lozenge, nasal spray or patch increases your chances of success almost twofold.

On the downside, while using NRT may help break your chemical dependency, it does not help with behavioural addiction. You still need to find ways to reinforce non-smoker behaviour as you wean from nicotine. As well, some users report insomnia and nausea as a result of NRT.

Natural Alternatives

Acupuncture:
Not convinced that this traditional medicine has a place in your quest to quit? You might be surprised to learn that several studies show an average 40% success rate with acupuncture. Researchers suggest that the ancient practice of inserting tiny needles into certain points in the body redirects the flow of energy and helps to increase production of mood-enhancing endorphins, which can ease symptoms of withdrawal. Other studies suggest that acupuncture works by reducing patient’s taste of tobacco and the desire to smoke. Acupuncture is economical, and has no dangerous side effects. Combined with counseling, acupuncture is an excellent and economical alternative to medication.

Herbal Remedies:
If the idea of supplying your body with more nicotine as you try to break the habit doesn’t make sense to you, herbal remedies might answer your need to keep the cravings under control without adding drugs to your system. And with the variety of herbal preparations and delivery methods available, you should be able to find a system to suit your individual needs! Look for herbal patches, tonics, gums, sprays and teas that help to cut the cravings, ease withdrawal and calm your nerves.

Although individual formulations will vary, here is a list of some of the most common herbs used to kick the habit:

Eucalyptus is approved by the American FDA as an expectorant. It is both anti-bacterial and anti-viral, and helps to soothe the bronchi.

Licorice Root helps to calm inflammation in the airways, removes phlegm and relieves coughing.

Lobelia is an herbal systemic relaxant that is used in treatment of respiratory conditions.

Marshmallow is soothing to the respiratory tract and is useful for treating coughs.

Plantain helps to reduce nicotine cravings while supporting the respiratory system.

Slippery Elm calms cough and helps to soothe the throat.

And don’t be fooled into thinking that smoking a clove cigarette is a safe alternative to the real thing. Clove cigarettes can contain up to 60% tobacco, and burning clove releases carcinogens.

Homeopathy:
As a holistic form of therapy, homeopathy treats your health as a whole rather than focusing on a particular body part. It is a method of healing that provides a "spark" for your body to start your own healing process. It works through the principle that "like cures like," meaning that a substance that could cause symptoms in large amounts can heal you in small doses. Because every body is individual – and people experience different withdrawal symptoms – various remedies are available.

Below is a small list of remedies that might help you on your quest to quit. Visit a homeopath, naturopath or a knowledgeable health products store for more details. Remember, this list is for information only, and should not be construed as medical advice.

Nux Vomica is useful for congestion, cough, tiredness, and cravings for tobacco.

Plantago Major helps to reduce tobacco cravings.

Staphysphagria helps with cravings, insomnia and irritability.

Hypnosis:
Although the studies of hypnotherapy as a stop-smoking aid have mixed results, many people find success with the use of this alternative therapy. A study conducted at Ohio State University concluded that 22% of participants were able to kick the habit. A 2002 survey found that 76% of participants who had used hypnosis to help them kick the habit found the treatment to be effective. Many studies conclude that, at worst, hypnotherapy can’t hurt!

Nutritional Therapy:
No matter what quit-aid you choose, help your body to heal with a diet that is high in antioxidant-rich fresh fruits and vegetables to strengthen your immune system and shorten your recovery time. Common antioxidants include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium. Green tea is also a valuable source of healing antioxidants, and you would benefit from drinking at least one cup per day.

Be sure to get adequate lean protein in the form of chicken, turkey and fish, or from the vast array of legumes including chick peas, kidney beans and lentils. Protein is essential for building a strong immune system. Snack on nuts and seeds to improve your intake of healing essential fatty acids (EFAs) EFAs reduce inflammation and promote cellular healing.

Supplement your healthy diet with a broad spectrum multi-vitamin to be sure to make up for any nutritional deficiencies in your diet. You’ll be feeling your best in no time!

References:
Ausfeld-Hafter B, Marti F, Hoffmann S. Smoking cessation with ear acupuncture. Descriptive study on patients after a smoking cessation treatment with ear acupuncture. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2004 Feb;11(1):8-13.

He D, Medbo JI, Hostmark AT.Effect of acupuncture on smoking cessation or reduction: an 8-month and 5-year follow-up study. Prev Med. 2001 Nov;33(5):364-72.

Gray CM, Tan AW, Pronk NP, O'Connor PJ. Complementary and alternative medicine use among health plan members. A cross-sectional survey. Eff Clin Pract. 2002 Jan-Feb;5(1):17-22.

Aubin HJ, Lebargy F, Berlin I, Bidaut-Mazel C, Chemali-Hudry J, Lagrue G. Efficacy of bupropion and predictors of successful outcome in a sample of French smokers: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Addiction. 2004 Sep;99(9):1206-18.

Cox LS, Patten CA, Niaura RS, Decker PA, Rigotti N, Sachs DP, Buist AS, Hurt RD.Efficacy of bupropion for relapse prevention in smokers with and without a past history of major depression. J Gen Intern Med. 2004 Aug;19(8):828-34.

Lerman C, Berrettini W, Pinto A, Patterson F, Crystal-Mansour S, Wileyto EP, Restine SL, Leonard DG, Shields PG, Epstein LH.Changes in food reward following smoking cessation: a pharmacogenetic investigation. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2004 Aug;174(4):571-7. Epub 2004 Apr 27.

Richmond R, Zwar N.Review of bupropion for smoking cessation. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2003 Jun;22(2):203-20.

Martinez-Raga J, Sabater A, Cervera G. Anorgasmia in a patient treated with bupropion SR for smoking cessation. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2004 Aug;24(4):460-1.

Ali, E et al. The All In One Guide to Natural Remedies and Supplements. AGES Publications. 2000.

Castleman, M. The New Healing Herbs. Rodale Inc. 2001.

McCabe, V. Practical Homeopathy. St. Martin’s Griffin, New York. 2000.

www.abchomeopathy.com

Ahijevych K, Yerardi R, Nedilsky N. Descriptive outcomes of the American Lung Association of Ohio hypnotherapy smoking cessation program. Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2000 Oct;48(4):374-87.

Cummings KM, Hyland A. Impact of Nicotine Replacement Therapy on Smoking Behavior. Annu Rev Public Health. 2004 Nov 11.

Silagy C, Lancaster T, Stead L, Mant D, Fowler G.Nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(3):CD000146.

Petty, L. Living Beauty. Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Toronto. 2005.

 

 

 

How to Quit Smoking in Vancouver
Lists and links to quit smoking groups, quit smoking web sites, organizations and natural health practitioners.

Quit Smoking Kit
Download a PDF of our Quit Smoking Kit, or pick it up at one of our locations in Vancouver for free.

Symptoms and Solutions
What kind of symptoms should you expect when quitting smoking? And how can you deal with them? Here's the latest, research-verified information on both alternative and pharmaceutical methods of overcoming the negatives of nicotine withdrawal.

How To Quit
When it comes to butting out, you don't have to go it alone. There are quit-aids available to suit every personality and preference – from alternative therapies to medical interventions. Which one suits your style?

What happens to your body after you quit smoking?
Sometimes we get overwhelmed when we think we have far to go to reach our goals. But giving up cigarettes has some immediate health benefits too!

Quit Tips
Make it easy on yourself as you learn to live smoke-free.

Did you know?

A survey conducted with over 4,400 quitters found that 42% of participants had used one or more complementary or alternative method to help them kick the habit. Favoured alternative therapies included relaxation techniques (18%), massage (12%), herbal medicine (10%), and megavitamin therapy (9%).

 
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