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Smoking: getting help to quit

stop-smoking-23-04-2012Stub it out. If you puff like a chimney and think you are getting away with it – you’re not. Even the occasional cigarette can kill. We look at ways to help kick the habit.

Kick the habit

On average it takes four to five attempts for a smoker to give up. Although there’s no miracle cure for quitters, there are a number of things that can help break the habit:

Nicotine replacement treatment (NRT)

Doubling your success rate over going cold turkey alone, this method releases a controlled amount of nicotine into your system. Skin patches, gum, lozenges, nasal sprays and inhalers are all options available to wean smokers off it. offers iPhone apps, tips, budget calculators to assess the money saved from quitting and products to cut your cravings.


Zyban (bupropion) is a medicine that’s licensed to help smoking cessation.
Champix (varenicline), a medicine that mimics the effect of nicotine in the body, reduces the urge to smoke while minimising withdrawal symptoms.

Your local pharmacist will be able to aid your decision on which is the right medication for you.

Enter a drug name to read a host of information from online medical experts.

Alternative therapies

Acupuncture is used as a tool to counter the desire to smoke. Needles are put in different areas of the body which work towards reducing the tobacco addiction, however, they don’t produce any side effects. now offer evening appointments.

Hypnosis is found to be very effective in removing the smoking habit entirely, again with no side effects. Through hypnosis, the body and mind is tuned to eradicate the smoking habit altogether. is just one London hypnosis specialist.

Get a quit buddy

The odds of stopping are significantly improved if you quit at the same time as a friend or relative, according to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine. External support can also make a huge ­difference – try speaking to a trained expert adviser on the free NHS Smokefree helpline on 0800 022 4332. offers help and advice.

Electronic cigarettes

Apart from actual nicotine addiction, the habit of smoking itself is hard to shake. To smoke one cigarette, the average person will put their hand to their mouth 10 times. With an electronic cigarette you keep your hand busy. They are refillable and only contain small doses of nicotine vapour. Purchase e-cigs and flavoured vapour from and

Photograph: Shutterstock

This article was first published in at home’s ’Ask the Doctor’ with Dr Christian Jessen in March 2012. [Read the digital edition here]


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