Quit smoking treatment
What treatment methods are available?
It’s incredibly difficult to stop smoking with willpower alone, but the good news is that there are a number of quit smoking treatments available in Ireland. Whether it includes nicotine replacement therapy, behavioural therapy or a prescription quit smoking treatment, you can be sure that there’s a wealth of support to help you stop smoking.
Nicotine replacement therapy aids are freely available, and can be bought over the counter; however, other types of quit smoking treatments are harder to obtain. Champix and Zyban, which are both an example of a quit smoking treatment, are only available with a prescription from a doctor and can only be given to certain people who want to stop smoking. Counselling and behavioural therapies are usually recommended by a doctor, but you can attend sessions privately.
The key thing to consider is that everyone is different, and there isn’t a single quit smoking treatment that is 100% effective. Our bodies and minds will respond in unique ways to each quit smoking treatment, but if you learn about each option you might get to learn which would be the most effective at helping you stop smoking. You can also complete a consultation with one of our doctors, who will be able to recommend a quit smoking treatment for you.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
NRT suppresses nicotine cravings by steadily releasing nicotine into your bloodstream, but at levels much lower than a cigarette. It gives your body the chemical it’s craving without exposing it to the thousands of other toxic chemicals in smoke. The idea is if your body is receiving nicotine, it’ll be easier for you to stop smoking.
The NRT quit smoking treatment comes in the following forms:
- Transdermal patches, which are stuck to the skin and release nicotine for 16 or 24 hours
- Chewing gum, which comes in a 2mg or 4mg dose
- Inhalators, which also satisfies the feeling of having a cigarette between your fingers
- Tablets and lozenges
- Nasal spray, which passes nicotine through the lining of your nose
Success rate and side effects
Using an NRT quit smoking treatment means smokers are twice as likely to stop smoking forever as those who attempt to stop smoking with willpower alone. However, it still has a relatively low success rate at just 17%.
If you use an NRT quit smoking treatment you might experience the following side effects:
- Upset stomach
- Skin irritation if using patches
- Discomfort and irritation of the nose, throat or eyes if using spray
If you don’t like the idea of putting nicotine into your body in order to stop craving nicotine, you might find counselling or behavioural therapy helpful. It can equip you with the mental tools to overcome your cravings, or understand why you smoke so you can break the cycle. Some people find that group counselling, and being surrounded by others who want to stop smoking, can be a supportive and helpful atmosphere and boost your chances of success.
Champix and Zyban are two quit smoking medications that both reduce the desire to smoke and eliminate withdrawal symptoms. Champix is proven to be the most effective at helping you stop smoking; clinical studies have proven that a 12-week course of Champix has a 50% success rate, and a 24-week treatment programme has a 70% success rate.
Success rate and side effects
A recent study in the UK compared seven different quit smoking treatments and found that Champix combined with behavioural support were the most effective. Participants were tested over a six-month period and it was revealed that Champix was the quit smoking treatment that was the most capable of preventing nicotine cravings and relapses. It overshadowed nicotine replacement therapy and support alone.
Prescription medications always carry a risk that they can cause side effects, which include nausea, headache, insomnia, anxiety and loss of appetite, for example.