The 10 most frequently asked questions about Smoking
- Why should I quit smoking?
- What smoking cessation treatments are available?
- What's the best way to quit smoking?
- How long does it take to quit smoking?
- Which quit smoking method is more effective?
- How successful are prescription treatments?
- Does smoking cause impotence?
- What happens to my body after I quit smoking?
- If I quit, will I put on weight?
- How can I quit smoking for good?
Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the world. Each cigarette has 4,000 different chemicals, of which 60 can cause cancer affecting the lungs, mouth, stomach, liver and pancreas. Smoking can also lead to kidney failure and high blood pressure in the long run. Stopping sooner rather than later can help you avoid many of these health problems and improve your overall well-being almost straight away.
The most common method to quit smoking is by using over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy treatments, such as pills, patches, gum, inhalers or sprays. However if you would prefer not to supplement your body with an alternative form of nicotine, you could choose to do it with the support of a counsellor, although this may not be a comfortable route for everybody. Champix and Zyban are two prescription medications that don’t supplement your system with nicotine, but helps you fight the cravings and deal with the withdrawal symptoms.
There is no single best way that works for everybody. Which method you choose will largely depend on your personal preference, be it through willpower, psychotherapy, nicotine replacement patches, gum, pills or prescription medications. If you are unsure of which route to take, you can speak to your doctor or complete a free online consultation with HealthExpress.
Although it’s rare, there are people who are able to just give up ‘cold turkey’. However, many people find that it’s better to have a more piecemeal approach by gradually smoking less and less, which could take a couple of weeks or months. Some people choose to supplement their efforts with nicotine replacement aids or prescription medications. Although it’s likely you’ll experience less discomfort during the period you are quitting, it may also take a few weeks for you to completely give up.
According to a study conducted in 2010which compared seven smoking cessation treatments over a period of six months, Champix was the most effective when used in combination with behavioural support. Nicotine replacement therapy with or without support was significantly less effective and online, telephone, one-to-one and group therapy sessions also had a low success rate.
Of the two prescription medications currently available, Champix has been clinically proven to be more effective than its competitor Zyban. Champix has a much higher success rate at 50% if you take it for 12 weeks, which rises to 70% if it is taken for a further 12-week period.
Continuous smoking can cause sexual problems in the long run because it affects blood circulation, and can damage blood vessels in the penis. Men who smoke and are in their 30s and 40s have a 50% chance of developing impotence.
Apart from the long term health benefits and a longer, healthier life, when you stop smoking there are some benefits you may notice within as soon as couple of days or weeks after giving up. These benefits include: increased energy levels, less stress and anxiety, healthier looking skin, a heightened sense of taste and smell, healthier teeth and increased sexual sensitivity.
Smoking has been known to influence appetite, which can cause weight gain; however, this may not affect everybody. If you are worried about putting on weight, you can use a prescription smoking cessation treatment like Champix to help give you more control over your nicotine cravings so you’re less likely to substitute these cravings with food. Exercising while you are quitting or trying to snack more healthily can also help you control your weight better.
A large number of people who quit tend to have a relapse after 12 months of giving up. To avoid a relapse you can try and make long term lifestyle changes that will make it less tempting for you to start again. You could avoid going out for a smoke when your work colleagues do, or convince your partner to give up with you if they smoke so that there isn’t a constant temptation. You can also create a network of family and friends who you can contact if you need emotional support. Starting a hobby or exercising more as a substitute for smoking can also help.