Nearly 70% of adult smokers in the US want to kick the habit. But quitting cigarettes can be a daunting task due to the addictive nature of nicotine.
So, what is the best way to stop smoking?
The truth is, what works best varies from person to person.
Here's the good part: There are many options, including electronic cigarettes and vapes, nicotine replacement therapies, nicotine reduction, and more.
We’ll also share seven helpful tips to manage withdrawal symptoms and delve deeper into the changes you experience when you quit smoking.
This Article Contains:
- Best Way to Stop Smoking: 7 Most Effective Methods & Strategies
- Electronic Cigarettes & Vapes
- Nicotine Replacement Therapy
- Prescription Medications
- Behavioral Strategies and Support
- Cold Turkey
- Nicotine Reduction Method
- Other Alternative Therapies
- 7 More Tips to Help You Stop Smoking and Cope with Withdrawals
- What to Expect When You Quit Smoking
Best Way to Stop Smoking: 7 Most Effective Methods & Strategies
Look, the journey to quit smoking is personal. So, the method or combination of methods you choose should align with your unique needs and preferences.
Here are seven effective ways to kick the habit:
1. Electronic Cigarettes & Vapes
Electronic cigarettes (or e-cigarettes) and vapes deliver nicotine through vapor, offering a viable alternative to traditional smoking.
But here’s the thing:
Vapes aren't FDA-approved as official smoking cessation aids. However, recent research shows a promising path to quitting.
For instance, a 2023 Cochrane study notes that e-cigarettes helped around 14 out of 100 smokers quit for the long haul, compared to just 6 out of 100 who tried to quit without any stop-smoking aids.
So, what makes electronic cigs and vapes an effective stop-smoking method?
E-cigarettes allow you to control your nicotine strength. This way, you can tailor your nicotine intake to your needs and gradually reduce your nicotine dependency.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this controlled intake can help manage nicotine withdrawal symptoms, easing your transition from regular cigarettes.
The downside of using nicotine vapes?
These vapes, although less addictive than traditional smoking, can still keep you hooked on nicotine. Additionally, nicotine vaping comes with serious health risks, like asthma, lung scarring, and exposure to secondhand smoke.
Don’t worry, though. We have a solution for you — Nicotine-free vapes.
Zero nicotine vapes let you enjoy every aspect of vaping without the harmful side effects of nicotine.
Where should you start?
Introducing the nicotine-free Gust Super vape by Cyclone Pods. Equipped with a rechargeable battery, this disposable vape offers 5,000 puffs, ensuring you're never without your favorite flavors.
Take your pick from 11 mouthwatering flavor options, including:
Or, if you’re looking for a pod system with a vape device, charger, and single-flavor pod, the Thunder Starter Kit is for you!
2. Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products are designed to give you a controlled dose of nicotine. This makes it easier to manage withdrawal symptoms when you're ready to quit smoking or vaping. NRTs are FDA-approved as a smoking cessation aid.
The five common NRT products include:
- Nicotine patch — an adhesive patch that releases nicotine through the skin
- Nicotine gum — a chewable smokeless tobacco product that releases nicotine through the mucous membranes in the mouth
- Nicotine nasal spray — delivers nicotine through nasal blood vessels
- Nicotine lozenge — a smokeless tobacco tablet that dissolves slowly in the mouth
- Nicotine inhaler — an inhaler releases nicotine from cartridges for absorption through the mouth’s lining
Keep in mind that NRT products come in varying strengths, so it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the right nicotine strength for you.
Interestingly, the 2023 Cochrane study states that combining two types of NRTs is notably more effective than using a single form of NRT.
For instance, you can combine the nicotine patch, which provides a steady nicotine supply throughout the day, with faster-acting NRT products like nicotine gum or lozenges. These faster-acting NRTs give you a quick dose of nicotine, making them handy for tackling sudden cravings or triggers.
The upside of using NRTs?
NRTs can be less addictive compared to nicotine vaping or smoking. This is because they deliver nicotine to your brain in a slower, controlled manner. This allows you to reduce your nicotine intake slowly and manage withdrawal symptoms.
If you're a heavy smoker, your NRT plan will start with a more potent nicotine dose, gradually decreasing it until you're nicotine-free.
But, there are still some risks involved.
Since NRT involves nicotine intake, there's a continued risk of long-term toxicity and nicotine addiction.
Some common side effects of NRT products may include:
- Allergic reaction
- Skin irritation (with the nicotine patch)
Research also suggests that nicotine gums and lozenges may increase the risk of oral cancer.
3. Prescription Medications
If you seek a nicotine alternative that doesn't replicate the act of smoking, prescription medication can be a practical option.
These oral medications alleviate nicotine withdrawal symptoms and cravings for both vapers and smokers.
Here are three frequently prescribed medications used as smoking alternatives:
- Zyband (Bupropion): Blocks nicotine receptors in the brain, reducing nicotine's effects. This helps reduce withdrawal symptoms and the craving to smoke.
- Chantix (Varenicline): Simulates the effects of nicotine on the brain to reduce cravings.
- Nortriptyline (Norpress): Alters brain chemistry to reduce nicotine cravings during quitting.
Both Zyband and Chantix are FDA-approved. However, Nortriptyline is not an FDA-approved medication for smoking cessation.
But here’s the kicker:
These medicines can have potential side effects, including:
- Dry mouth
- Heart palpitations
So always consult a healthcare professional before taking these medications, as they can lead to serious adverse effects.
Did you know? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is a major contributor to heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and more.
4. Behavioral Strategies and Support
Behavioral strategies involve specific techniques and approaches aimed at changing smoking-related behaviors.
These include coping strategies, like identifying triggers that lead to smoking, and behavioral changes, like replacing smoking with healthier habits.
Similarly, support entails a range of resources such as counseling, support groups, and self-help materials.
According to the CDC, counseling offers essential guidance for those looking to kick the habit. A quit-smoking counselor can help you create a personalized plan and prepare you to tackle the challenges of quitting.
The CDC also offers a free stop smoking service that provides confidential coaching via a telephone quit line (800-QUIT-NOW).
Additionally, you can join support groups and counseling sessions with others striving to quit. This can provide the motivation and guidance needed for success.
Self-help materials, which include books, apps, and online resources, can offer guidance at your own pace.
The good news?
You can use these methods with other smoking-cessation aids, such as NRTs or nicotine-free vapes, for quicker results.
5. Cold Turkey
One of the more challenging methods, quitting cold turkey, means cutting nicotine completely and immediately without any medications or support.
While quitting cold turkey offers the benefit of achieving nicotine independence without using aids or medications, it has a notable drawback.
If you choose this method, you must set a specific ‘quit day.’ From that day forward, you rely on your willpower and commitment to kick the habit. Going cold turkey can be intimidating, especially with nicotine withdrawals.
Thankfully, you can use a variety of effective tips to help you quit tobacco cigarettes for good.
6. Nicotine Reduction Method
If you're not quite ready to part with the hand-to-mouth ritual of smoking, the nicotine reduction method offers a gradual approach to help you make the shift.
Here's how it works:
Step 1: Begin by cutting down your daily cigarette smoking intake. For example, if you typically smoke 20 cigarettes daily, reduce it to 18 daily. This gradual adjustment allows your body to get used to lower nicotine levels.
Step 2: Each week, lower your daily cigarette limit until you're down to smoking fewer than 5 cigarettes daily. At this point, your body relies more on the habitual act of smoking and less on nicotine.
- Step 3: At this point, you're ready for the final stage – quitting smoking nicotine altogether.
Once you successfully smoke fewer cigarettes daily, you can switch to safer alternatives, like nicotine-free vapes, to satisfy that oral fixation.
Already started your nicotine reduction journey?
Check out the nicotine-free Surge vapes from Cyclone Pods to make the transition easier. These eco-friendly vape devices feature a rechargeable battery and over 6000 puffs. You can switch out pods to match your flavor preference for the day, giving you complete control over your vaping experience.
The Surge vape pods are available in 13 delicious flavors, including:
And once you quit cigarettes completely, you can continue using Surge vapes (or any other Cyclone Pods’ nicotine-free vapes) as a safe source of enjoyment without the risk of nicotine addiction.
7. Other Alternative Therapies
Several alternative therapies can also help you to quit smoking. These include:
Hypnosis: Hypnosis methods vary and have shown mixed results in controlled studies. Additionally, it’s not an FDA-approved quitting aid. Some individuals report it helps with quitting smoking. If interested, consult your healthcare provider to find a licensed therapist who offers hypnotherapy.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture for smoking cessation is done on specific points on the ears, but there's limited scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness. Acupuncture is not an FDA-approved method to quit smoking, but combining acupuncture with counseling or educational smoking cessation programs can make it more effective.
Magnet therapy: This non-invasive technique uses magnetic fields to stimulate specific areas of the brain. The FDA recently approved transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to aid short-term smoking cessation in adults.
Cold laser therapy: Also known as low-level laser therapy, it's related to acupuncture but uses cold lasers instead of needles. While some providers claim its effectiveness in smoking cessation, limited scientific evidence supports its efficacy, and it lacks FDA approval.
- Herbs and supplements: While some homeopathic aids and herbal supplements are marketed as stop-smoking methods, they have little scientific evidence to back their efficacy. These products are not regulated by the FDA and are sold as dietary supplements, meaning they do not require FDA approval.
Having explored seven effective smoking cessation methods, let's shift our focus to additional strategies to help you quit smoking and manage withdrawal symptoms.
7 More Tips to Help You Stop Smoking and Cope with Withdrawals
Nicotine cravings and withdrawal can be the most challenging aspects of quitting. Here are seven practical tips to ease the pressure and guide you toward success:
1. Decide Exactly Why You Want to Stop Smoking
To gather motivation, you must pinpoint a compelling, personal reason to resist the urge to light up. It could be:
- To protect your family from secondhand smoke
- Lower the risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, or other health conditions
- Enhance your overall well-being.
This clarity of purpose empowers you to overcome the urge to smoke and stay committed to your goal.
Did you know? Tobacco smoke releases thousands of chemicals, with over 70 known to cause cancer.
2. Set a Timeline and Stick to It
Establish a clear timeline for stopping smoking and honor it. This structured approach creates a sense of accountability and ensures you stay on track.
Your commitment to the timeline is your secret weapon for making this journey to quit smoking successfully.
3. Identify and Avoid Triggers
Ever noticed how your brain still craves a cigarette during your coffee break or a phone call?
Well, it’s because after years of smoking, your brain still associates those moments with tobacco use.
After quitting, these situations can become your triggers, sparking intense nicotine cravings. Typical triggers can include:
- Talking on the phone
- Hanging out with friends
- Trying to cover up uncomfortable feelings
- Drinking alcohol
- Battling boredom
Recognizing and avoiding your triggers can boost your chances of stopping smoking successfully.
4. Fill Your Time With Healthy Activities
Physical exercise offers a healthy alternative to smoking and can effectively reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
But, how does it work?
Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, which improve mood and play a vital role in supporting mental health. Physical activity can help alleviate the anxiety, irritability, and depression associated with nicotine withdrawal.
5. Keep Reminding Yourself of the Benefits of Quitting Smoking
Continuously reinforcing the benefits of quitting smoking is a powerful motivator.
When you quit smoking, you can experience:
- Improved lung function
- Reduced lung inflammation
- Decreased coughing and phlegm production
- A lowered risk of lung cancer and respiratory diseases
These compelling rewards await you on your journey to a smoke-free life.
6. Surround Yourself With Supportive Family and Friends
When you share your decision to quit smoking with your loved ones, you unlock a network of valuable encouragement and support.
Imagine this: Your close friends and family willingly choose not to light up regular cigarettes or vape around you. This small change goes a long way in your journey to a life free of tobacco use.
The best part?
Joining a community of like-minded individuals on the same journey can help you with accountability and support throughout your quitting journey
7. Celebrate Milestones
Quitting vaping or tobacco cigarettes is tough but worth doing.
Acknowledge your progress, be it a day, a week, or a month without smoking, and celebrate small wins to keep going.
Remember, you've got this!
As you gear up to quit smoking with these seven tips, you must know what changes your body goes through when you say goodbye to nicotine. Let's uncover what happens when you say goodbye to nicotine.
What to Expect When You Quit Smoking
Nicotine has a broad impact on your body, affecting your heart, blood vessels, hormones, metabolism, and brain. When you stop using it, nicotine withdrawal sets in.
Quitting nicotine may bring about withdrawal symptoms, which can include:
- Strong urges and cravings to smoke
- Coughing and sneezing
- Headaches and dizziness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling upset or annoyed
- Feeling anxious, sad, or depressed
- Increased appetite and weight gain
- Trouble sleeping
Keep in mind that although nicotine withdrawal typically eases in about a month, the mental challenge of quitting cigarettes tends to last longer.
There’s a silver lining, though.
Understanding the positive changes in your body when you quit tobacco can help you say goodbye to cigarettes forever.
Here’s what happens to your body when you stop smoking cigarettes:
After the first few hours: Your heart rate slows and your blood pressure stabilizes—additionally, oxygen in your blood returns to normal levels.
After one day: Your bloodstream will have nearly cleared of nicotine, carbon monoxide levels in your blood will have decreased, and your heart and muscles will receive oxygen more efficiently.
After one week: Your sense of taste and smell may improve.
After three months: You'll cough and wheeze less. Your immune function and circulation to your hands and feet will improve, and your lungs will become more efficient at removing mucus, tar, and dust.
After six months: Your stress levels will likely decrease, and you'll be less prone to coughing up phlegm.
After one year: Your lungs will be healthier and breathing easier than if you'd continued smoking.
After five years: our risk of heart disease will significantly decrease (and continue to do so over time). Within five years, a woman's risk of cervical cancer will be the same as if she had never smoked.
- After ten years: Your risk of lung cancer will be half that of someone of a similar age who continues to smoke.
Did you know? According to the National Cancer Institute, smoking cigarettes is the main cause of cancer in the U.S.
Enhance Your Wellbeing with Nicotine-Free Vapes
As you prepare to embark on your journey to quit smoking, it's essential to have a well-thought-out plan in place.
The methods and tips you choose should align with your unique preferences and needs. You can even combine different approaches, like using nicotine-free vapes while reducing nicotine intake, to maximize your chances of success.
For high-quality vapes free from harmful chemicals, head over to Cyclone Pods and explore their extensive range of nicotine-free vaping products.