And with Jeremy Clarkson admitting to pilling on the pounds after he gave up the habit, we ask – can you quit smoking without expanding your waistline?
Products available to help you quit smoking
DR CHRIS SAYS: “Colouring is a big trend at the moment and you do see a lot of adult colouring books on the market. This is because for some colouring is seen to be therapeutic. It distracts the mind and requires the person to be focused. There are a lot of other quirky things people do to help them stop smoking, an example is using a fake cigarette. You can buy fake cigarettes online which are tobacco flavoured. This helps by creating an illusion of a real cigarette and may work for a few. However colouring and fake cigarettes are not the first line of treatment I would recommend.
2. Nicotine replacement therapy
DR CHRIS SAYS: “NRT can be bought from pharmacies and some shops. It’s also available on prescription from a doctor. Patches release nicotine slowly. Some are worn all the time and some should be taken off at night. Gum and sprays act more quickly and may be better for alleviating cravings. There’s no evidence that any single type of NRT is more effective than another. But there is good evidence to show that using a combination of NRT is more effective than using a single product. Often the best way to use NRT is to combine a patch with a faster acting form such as gum or nasal spray. Treatment with NRT usually lasts 8-12 weeks, before you gradually reduce the dose and eventually stop. It’s been scientifically proven that by taking different forms of NRT smokers double their chances of success in quitting for good. When having a cigarette, nicotine gets to your brain instantly within seven seconds feeding the habit. NRT works in the same way and you also get that hit to the brain in seven seconds. Nicotine isn’t the stuff that can cause serious illness and death from cancer, lung, and heart disease. Those culprits are the tar and toxic gases that are released from burning tobacco when you smoke. Nicotine is a chemical that is not dangerous but just addictive.”
DR CHRIS SAYS: “We don’t know yet whether hypnotherapy helps smokers to quit or not – there is little research into the use of hypnotherapy by smokers. This is not to say that hypnotherapy does not work, just that it has not been proven scientifically. I have been trained in hypnotherapy and have seen with some patients that are receptive to it, it can work miracles for them.”
DR CHRIS SAYS: “There is growing evidence that e-cigarettes can help people stop smoking and is seen as the most effective way of stopping smoking. Using an e-cigarette can help you manage your nicotine cravings. To get the best out of it, make sure you’re using it as much as you need to and with the right strength of nicotine in your e-liquid. Most vape juice has a nicotine concentration measured in milligrams per milliliter (mg/ml, or often just mg), with nicotine strengths available in 0 mg to 24 mg and beyond. E-cigarettes are not available on the NHS and have to be bought in shops. They come with liquid cartridges that are often flavoured containing an array of flavouring agents. These agents are often made in different countries where there is a risk of harmful chemicals being used so you need to be careful with what e-liquids you buy.”
6. Prescription tablets (Champix and Zyban)
DR CHRIS SAYS: “This is the least popular form of treatment and is one I would not recommend because there are many side effects associated with the drugs. Some of the side effects include dry mouth, insomnia, headaches, constipation and dizziness.”