How Quit Smoking Medicines Work: Tips from Pharmacy Planet
In addition to being catastrophic to your health, cigarettes are highly addictive. They contain a substance called nicotine that’s addictive on its own, but cigarette companies put in additives to make them even more addictive.
When you try to quit smoking, your body will experience nicotine withdrawals and cravings. The cravings can be very intense and make you irritable, anxious, and depressed. Because of how addictive nicotine is, most people will struggle when they try to quit smoking.
How To Stop Smoking Immediately
Immediately cutting yourself off from cigarettes is called going “cold turkey.” As opposed to slowly weaning yourself off of cigarettes, when you go cold turkey you simply stop smoking altogether. Many people who go cold turkey have a rough time fully committing because of the effects of nicotine withdrawal. It’s not uncommon for the symptoms to become so unbearable that people end up going back to smoking.
Some people are able to quit smoking immediately without going back, but if you aren’t one of those people you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. Afterall, if quitting smoking was easy then people wouldn't be so addicted to cigarettes. That’s why so many smokers use smoking cessation aids such as counselling, support groups, and Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) like nicotine gum and patches.
There are also proven medications to help people quit smoking. In fact, smokers who use stop smoking medications are far more likely to successfully quit cigarettes than those who don’t.
Can I Get Free Medication to Quit Smoking?
The NHS offers free Stop Smoking Services at clinics and pharmacies located throughout the UK. With this service, you can get individual, one-to-one advice and support to help you successfully quit smoking.
If medication to quit smoking is recommended, you may be able to obtain it for free if you meet certain criteria, such as being exempt from paying for your prescriptions. For those who don’t qualify for stop smoking medication on the NHS, you can purchase it privately.
What’s the Best Stop Smoking Medication?
There are a few different approved stop smoking medications available in the UK. Which one works best for one smoker may not be the one that works best for you. In addition to looking through stop smoking medication reviews, speak to a pharmacist or clinician about your options so you can choose a medication that’s best suited to you.
This type of medication isn’t suitable for everyone, including those under 18 years of age. You also shouldn’t take stop smoking medication while pregnant.
Like any medication or medical treatment, there is a potential for side effects. Any side effects should reduce in severity the longer you take the medication.
Stop Smoking Medication Side Effects
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Brain fog
In very rare cases, some people taking stop smoking medications develop a condition called serotonin syndrome. With serotonin syndrome, your brain has too much of a natural chemical called serotonin. Serotonin is produced by nerve cells in your brain and other parts of your body that acts as a mood stabiliser.
Serotonin syndrome is almost always caused by taking a new medication or an increased dose of a medication that increases the level of serotonin in your body. If you take medications for your mental health, particularly SSRI antidepressants, let your doctor and pharmacist know before starting any stop smoking treatment.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy
You might already be familiar with nicotine patches and gum, but there are also nicotine inhalers, lozenges, and sprays.
These tools work by providing you with a low level of nicotine to fend off cravings and withdrawal symptoms. You’ll be able to get your nicotine fix without all the dangerous chemicals, carbon monoxide, and tar that’s found in cigarettes.
NRTs come in different strengths, allowing you to gradually wean yourself off of nicotine. Slowly reducing your nicotine intake is often a more successful method of quitting smoking than going cold turkey. You may be able to get NRTs through the NHS’s stop smoking service or you can purchase them from a pharmacy.
Another beneficial stop smoking method is the use of e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes heat up a liquid containing nicotine, turning it into vapour that you inhale like cigarette smoke.
You’ll need to purchase e-cigarettes and e-cig products privately. It’s recommended to initially start with a higher nicotine strength e-liquid and then gradually reduce the strength. Eventually, you should be able to get to a low enough nicotine strength that you’ll no longer be as addicted.
While e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes, because they are relatively new to the market, it’s unknown what the long-term health effects are. They also contain additives that can be harmful as well as nicotine.
Tips to Help You Quit Smoking
Studies have shown that smoking cessation aids and support are vital for a person to successfully quit smoking. Other tips to help you go smoke-free include:
- Set a date to go smoke-free so you can mentally prepare yourself. This is especially important when taking medication to stop smoking.
- If you have a friend or family member who also wants to quit, quit together. Supporting each other is a great way to keep you both on track.
- Discover craving triggers and find ways to distract yourself. For instance, if you usually have a cigarette after eating a meal, go for a walk or drink a cup of coffee for a quick boost.
- Use the money you’ve saved to buy yourself something nice. Cigarettes are an expensive habit so you should start to see the money piling up once you quit.
- Stay busy. The more idle your brain is, the worse your cravings will seem.
Pharmacy Planet is a leading online pharmacy in the UK supporting customers with a wide range of health concerns. If you’d like to find out more about quitting smoking or how we can help keep you and your family happy and healthy, visit our website or contact us today.