It’s a battle almost everyone on Earth knows about: The fight to quit smoking. Over 8 million people die yearly from smoking-related illnesses, as 1.3 billion continue to puff away. Despite impressive gains in the war against tobacco and with proposed legislation set to change smoking access in Australia, over 50 Australians still lose their lives to the habit daily. The struggle is far from over.
So, what best methods to stop smoking do we have at our disposal to help us kick the habit? Which techniques, treatments, and options work, and which one’s don’t? In this article, we explore the most common smoking cessation methods, including hypnotherapy to quit smoking and pit them against each other.w
People have known that tobacco products are bad for their health since at least the 1950s, with some academics raising the alarm as early as the early 1900s. Despite this, many countries only began regulating tobacco industries and adopting smoking laws at the turn of the century. And while nations like Australia boast many of the world’s toughest smoking regulations around, people continue to light up and vape away.
The smoking cessation industry has – since people first learned about the harmful effects that smoking has on us – always struggled to make inroads into the smoking culture that still traps so many. From thousands of books touting various techniques to going ‘cold turkey’ and swapping out nicotine for calories, figuring out which options work best can be confusing and difficult.
However, some programs have emerged as being more effective than others.
These are some of the most commonly used smoking cessation options. While the data on which works best varies wildly, many of these best methods to stop smoking come with different pros and cons, not to mention costs.
• Nicotine Gum – One of the most widely-available nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products is nicotine gum. Available at most pharmacies and in diverse product options, nicotine gum can be a great place to start. Gums usually come as sugar-coated, nicotine-infused chewables with 2mg or 4mg doses of synthetic nicotine.
o Advantages: Affordable, widely available and accessible.
o Disadvantages: Unpleasant taste and tingling sensation, gums don’t work for everyone, and many brands contain sugar.
o Cost: $40-$50 for a pack of 200 pieces (using one piece to replace each cigarette). This equates to $4-$5 daily for the average smoker.
o Effectiveness: Cravings return once the gum’s nicotine content has been depleted. Gums are only intended to be used over the short term to stave off immediate cravings.
• Wearing Patches – Despite a dip in popularity over the years, many long-time smokers prefer nicotine patches as their NRT option of choice. These long-acting, self-adhesive patches are applied directly to the skin and left to slowly deliver small amounts of nicotine (7mg to 21mg per patch) into the bloodstream.
o Advantages: Works most of the day, limited side effects and is recommended by doctors as a longer-term smoking prevention measure.
o Disadvantages: Inconvenient application and removal, can be dangerous (and potentially fatal) if used incorrectly, and skin irritation can occur after repeated use.
o Cost: $1.50 to $3.00 per patch (PBS prices available with a doctor’s prescription). Or $250 to $500.00 for the three months.
o Effectiveness: Patches work for between 12 and 16 hours at a time, and smokers are advised to follow a 12-week course with reducing dosages to help decrease their dependency on nicotine.
• Smoking cessation Medication – Many of these more contemporary smoking cessation products emerged as drugs intended for other ailments, whose side effects proved to be good options for helping stop smoking. Pharmaceutical companies now offer smoking cessation medications like Champix (also known as Varenicline) that affect the central nervous system for people looking to quit by blocking nicotine from attaching to receptors in the brain.
o Advantages: Longer-lasting anti-withdrawal symptom effectiveness and higher rates of cessation success.
o Disadvantages: Drugs can become expensive, they often take longer to take effect, and many produce negative side effects – including depression. A prescription from a qualified doctor is also required.
o Cost: Up to $120.00 for a 12-week treatment with a Medicare card (Note, as of mid-2023, there is currently a global shortage of Champix).
o Effectiveness: Medications have proven to be effective at helping people to break the action-reward cycle in the brain linked to continued smoking. However, they must be taken consistently over an extended period to work effectively.
• Hypnotherapy – Hypnotherapy has been used for generations to treat smoking addiction. Recently, people have acknowledged hypnosis treatments as an effective alternative to NRTs and drugs. Non-chemical, safe and effective hypnotherapy to quit smoking is a tried-and-tested, preferred option for millions.
o Advantages: Hypnotherapy is considered a permanent smoking cessation method, it does not require a doctor’s prescription, therapies can simultaneously address other mental issues and are safe, with no negative side effects.
o Disadvantages: Limited. Clients should approach treatment with a willing and open mind. They must WANT to quit.
o Cost: $200-$350 for a full quitting smoking program.
o Effectiveness: The various methods employed by hypnotherapists passively work to address the mechanisms that trigger cravings and the mental issues that cause people to turn to cigarettes. This allows clients to enjoy permanent smoke-free benefits. According to a study by the University of Iowa, hypnosis is three times as effective as a patch and up to 15 times more effective than simple willpower.
For those who have made the choice to quit, doing so can seem impossible. By its very nature, smoking is as addictive as it gets. The myriad chemical compounds and drugs in cigarettes and vape oils play tricks on the brain, while an ever more stressful world makes smoking an attractive option for people looking for something to take the edge off.
There are countless stories of people battling to in their quitting smoking journey, with many citing the battle to stop as one of the most difficult they’ve ever faced. And even once you’ve managed to break the smoking spell, the urge to light up again can linger for years, even decades afterwards.
Hypnocare continues to treat many clients battling to find the best methods to stop smoking. From light smokers looking to avoid falling into the lifetime habit to heavy smokers and multiple quitters, Over the 18years we’ve successfully helped thousands of our clients to stop lighting up. We also offer effective treatments for people looking to quit vaping – another dangerous habit threatening an entirely new generation.
Reach out to learn more about hypnotherapy to quit smoking and how the therapists at Hypnocare can help you overcome the urge to smoke and live better through a calmer, happier, healthier life.
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