Tobacco use is the main cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States.
Most adult smokers want to quit, and each year almost half try to quit for good. It's important to remember that quitting will take time and effort — it would not be an addiction otherwise.
At SpeedyHealth, we provide prescription treatment for smoking cessation. This should only be taken with a doctor's advice. More information on how you can become smoke-free can be found below.
Medically reviewed by Dr. Adrian Rawlinson
Written by our editorial team Last reviewed 05 December 2023
Nicotine is the main addictive substance in tobacco. By inhaling tobacco smoke, nicotine rapidly reaches high levels in your bloodstream and quickly enters the brain.
Nicotine has many effects on the body, it causes the release of adrenaline. This surge causes an increase in blood pressure, respiration, and heart rate.
Nicotine also triggers the release of the chemical dopamine in the brain. Dopamine sends messages between the brain and our nerve cells. It plays an important role in our mood and how we experience pleasure. As nicotine continues to affect our brain, we get used to having it around.
When you stop smoking, the absence of nicotine irritates your brain and you may experience withdrawal symptoms. You might get anxious, upset, have difficulty concentrating or sleeping, or feel uncomfortable.
Cigarette smoke harms almost every organ of the body, causes many diseases, and causes a decline in the general health of smokers. The smoke from tobacco products contains over 7,000 chemicals, at least 69 of these can cause cancer.
The CDC reports that an estimated 28.3 million U.S. adults currently smoke cigarettes. Each year, almost half a million Americans die due to smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Over 16 million Americans live with a serious illness caused by smoking.
Smokers are at greater risk of developing heart diseases including strokes and coronary heart disease. These are among the leading causes of death in the US. Smoking is also responsible for 1 in every 4 deaths caused by heart disease.
Smoking can also:
Smoking is responsible for approximately 90% of lung cancer deaths. It causes lung disease by damaging your airways and the small air sacs found in your lungs. Other lung diseases caused by smoking include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pneumonia.
Smoking also causes a variety of cancers, including:
Smoking can be harmful in pregnancy and can make it harder for a woman to become pregnant. It can also impact sperm, which can reduce fertility and also increase the risks of birth defects and miscarriage. Smoking increases risks of miscarriage, preterm delivery, stillbirth, and more.
Quitting has almost immediate health benefits, as your body begins to repair itself within 20 minutes of stopping.
This is what happens when you stop smoking:
|Talk to a quit smoking counselor individually or in a group.|
|Get free confidential coaching through a telephone quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW).|
|Use free online resources like CDC.gov/quit and Smokefree.gov.|
|Sign up for free texting programs like SmokefreeTXT.|
|Use a mobile app like quitSTART.|
Long-term benefits of quitting smoking include adding years to your life, lowering your risk of death from lung cancer and many other diseases.
When you quit, you will reduce your risk of smoking-related health conditions. This means you'll likely spend less on doctor visits, prescription medications, hospital stays, and health insurance premiums.
You will also save money that you would usually spend on cigarettes or other tobacco products.
Smoking can harm you and your loved ones. The main way smoking harms non-smokers is by inhaling secondhand smoke. This can stay in the air for several hours after you smoke.
Non-smokers who inhale this can develop harmful health effects such as:
When you quit, you will be protecting your loved ones and improving their health.
Quitting will enable you to spend additional time with family and friends, discover new hobbies, and increase your savings and investments. You will also improve your hygiene and both your mental and physical health.
The first step is to choose when you want to quit. Pick a date within the following week or two. This will give you time to mentally prepare and come up with a strategy for success.
Triggers are specific things that make you want to smoke. Knowing your smoking triggers can help you learn how to deal with them.
|Triggers||What you can do:|
Many people smoke when they feel strong emotions such as being stressed, anxious, excited, sad, happy, or lonely.
These are activities that you associate with smoking, such as:
To manage activity triggers, you can try changing your routine. For example, limit coffee, and brush your teeth right after you eat a meal. Remove anything that reminds you of smoking, for example, throwing away all your ashtrays and lighters.
These are events that usually include other people who smoke. For example:
To deal with social triggers avoid places, people, and situations you associate with smoking. Ask your friends not to smoke around you and spend time with non-smokers or visit places that don't allow smoking (like movies, museums, or shops).
Quitting smoking is easier with the support of family and friends. Tell them about your decision to quit and explain that they can help by checking in on you or doing smoke-free activities together.
In rare circumstances, you can quit smoking on the spot. However, the majority of smokers stand a greater chance of quitting with additional support and a quit smoking plan, you can build yours here. It is important that you are fully prepared and committed to quit.
You can start counseling while you get ready to quit smoking and continue counseling for support to stay smoke-free. There may be in-person or online support groups. Results from studies suggest that behavioral support (either delivered to an individual or a group) is effective in increasing quit rates.
More evidence is needed to support the use of methods such as hypnosis and acupuncture for smoking cessation. Evidence suggests that acupuncture alone may not be enough to stay smoke-free and further clinical trials are needed.
Bupropion and Varenicline are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help you quit smoking. They are both safe and effective for adults who smoke cigarettes.
Bupropion SR (Zyban)
Bupropion SR is a prescription-only medicine that works by reducing withdrawal symptoms and the urge to smoke. Bupropion SR is available as a 150mg tablet. The treatment is usually started while you are still smoking and have set a ‘target quit date’ within the first two weeks of treatment.
Chantix blocks the effects of nicotine in the brain, which removes the rewarding and reinforcing effects of cigarette smoke.
This medication comes in two strengths: 0.5mg (a white tablet) and 1mg (a blue tablet).
There are different ways that people commonly use this medication. Your doctor can provide detailed dosing instructions for you if this is a suitable treatment option.
Some forms of NRT are available over the counter without a prescription. NRT provides a low level of nicotine without the other harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke. This helps to relieve cravings and manage withdrawal effects. NRT medicines come in various forms including patches, lozenges, gum, oral inhaler, and nasal spray.
The correct NRT dose for you depends on the number of cigarettes you smoke in a day, whether you smoke within the first hour of waking, and your preferences. Usually, using a combination of two forms of NRT (e.g. nicotine gum and patches) is more effective than using just one.
Exercise can distract you from cravings and it has many other benefits. Short periods of physical activity reduce the urge to smoke and decrease withdrawal symptoms. Exercise strengthens your heart and lungs, helps manage stress, increases energy, and improves mood.
After you quit smoking, your senses of taste and smell return to normal. This makes meals more enjoyable which can result in an increase in your appetite. To avoid gaining weight after you quit, eat mindfully and snack on healthy foods such as carrots and celery. You can also eat mindfully by eating slower and taking the time to enjoy your food.
Stress is a normal part of life. Most people smoke when they feel stressed so managing stress is a key part of quitting smoking. Some stress management techniques include:
It is difficult to quit smoking on your own, so there are many options that may improve your chances of success. Check them out below:
When you stop smoking‚ your body needs to get used to not having nicotine around anymore. The lack of nicotine can cause withdrawal symptoms which can be uncomfortable.
Symptoms are usually strongest in the first few days or weeks after quitting smoking and decrease over time. These symptoms may include:
Some methods to manage withdrawal symptoms may be:
Relapsing can happen and is not a sign of failure. Many people attempt quitting often before they quit smoking for good. Use this as something to learn from and remind yourself that this is a minor bump on the road. Think about what caused the relapse and how to avoid this going forward.
Speedy Health offers clinically proven prescription medications to help you quit smoking.
All you have to do is complete one of our online consultation forms. It’s quick to do and is part of the requirements to get your chosen smoking cessation medication. After you complete the form, our doctors will assess it to see if the treatment is safe for you.
If approved, our pharmacy will dispatch your treatment with your selected delivery method.
Complete a short assessment form
Your form is reviewed by a licensed physician
Find the Rx treatment you need
Get your treatment straight to your door