Methods for Quitting Smoking: Pros and Cons

It’s no secret that addiction to smoking has terrible effects on a person’s health. Figuring that out is the easy part. What’s not so easy is actually trying to drop this potentially devastating habit.

The ideal method of quitting smoking would, of course, be easy, fast, inexpensive, and highly effective. But that’s a tall order. Most stop-smoking methods involve some sort of sacrifice, and the results vary between methods.

In fact, few stop-smoking methods are very effective at all when used by themselves, with most of them averaging around 30% effectiveness on their own. When combined, however, that percentage rises to a more encouraging 90%. And that’s great news for anyone trying to beat the nicotine habit.

Here are the pros and cons to the most common stop-smoking methods.

Cold turkey
This is perhaps the most challenging method of all, as it depends entirely on the will, discipline, and motivation of the smoker. And nicotine is a powerful addiction, so the deck is automatically stacked against the person trying to quit, no matter how strong-willed she is. Going cold turkey has the small benefit of being simple and inexpensive. However, it doesn’t offer much promise for long term success, largely because of the painful side effects of suddenly depriving the body of ingredients it’s come to crave in tobacco products.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This method is designed to modify the person’s awareness of smoking and replace it with somewhat healthier behaviors. One often-used approach to this therapy is to switch smoking with other actions, such as replacing smoking with chewing gum or eating candy. Another method is to phase out smoking by counting cigarettes smoked daily and steadily reducing the number. This method has the benefit of attacking some the root problems of smoking – behaviors and attitudes. But it still depends largely on willpower and discipline, which makes its failure rate rather high when used alone.

This ancient method of treatment employs tiny needles to stimulate specific parts of the body. It is said to increase endorphins in the body, alleviating withdrawal symptoms. Although among one of the less-common methods for quitting smoking, it can be effective when combined with other techniques. If used alone, however, its effectiveness is estimated at a mere 20%

This stop-smoking method works by subconsciously modifying the person’s awareness of her addiction. If done well, long-term results are possible. Overall, method is becoming steadily more popular. And with good reason – it can be as much as 60% effective. But the experience and effectiveness of hypnotists varies considerably, which can dramatically affect the success of such treatment.

Nicotine replacement therapy
Finally, this is one of the most popular methods, in the form of nicotine patches, nasal spray, or chewing gum. For many smokers, nicotine replacement therapy is attractive because of its promise of relatively fast results with a minimum of sacrifice and discomfort. And while generally effective in reducing withdrawal symptoms of quitting, its success rate is relatively low when used on its own – it doesn’t address the motivation and behaviors associated with smoking. And it also has the potential for serious health consequences if overdosed or used while still smoking. That said, nicotine replacement therapy can be an excellent tool when combined with any of the other stop-smoking methods, making it an excellent l tool in the quest to kick the habit.