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NicotineDirect.com > Smoking Cessation Information

Smoking Cessation Information


Smoking cigarettes is a catastrophically bad health indicator; quitting smoking adds both immediate and long term benefits.

Long term health benefits

In a large British study,(1) gains in life expectancy shown to be 3 years at age 60, 6 years at age 50, 9 years at age 40, and 10 years at age 30. Another study suggested that quitting when aged 65 to 69 will increase life expectancy by 1 year.

Quitting reduces the risk of repeat heart attacks and death from heart disease by 50% after one year. (After 15 years of abstinence, the risk is similar to that for people who've never smoked). Quitting modifies the risk profile of contributors to heart attacks, such as atherosclerosis, thrombosis, coronary artery spasm and arrythmias.

In 5 to 15 years, the risk of stroke for ex-smokers returns to the level of those who've never smoked. Other major disorders (notably COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) may improve once you cease smoking, or have their onset delayed.

Lung function improves by 30% over 2 to 3 months. This means less wheezing, cough, sinus infections etc. After 10 years the risk of now developing lung cancer has been halved. The chance of developing other cancers, such as cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, kidneys, pancreas or bladder, is also reduced.  Interestingly, it is cessation that is important – for cardiovascular disease, death rates or lung cancer, mere reduction in smoking offers no benefit at all ie quitting is what is important.

Short term benefits

Blood pressure can return to pre-smoking levels in 20 minutes. Carbon monoxide levels within your blood drop within hours, meaning your heart has to work less hard to spread enough oxygen in your system to keep you functioning well and healthy.

and

Your sense of taste and smell will rapidly improve. Your clothing, hair, furnishings, drapes and car all have a chance to begin returning to their pre-smoking freshness.

But quitting can be hard work, harder for some than others.

It is our opinion ( not fact) that there is probably a small subset of the population is generically primed to nicotine addiction; and some evidence that suggests a "double whammy" - that folk in that group are more susceptible to cancers related to smoking. This is probably why some find quitting enormously difficult, yet others can stop any time they want.

Where any person is significantly addicted, the removal of nicotine via “cold turkey “quitting creates a withdrawal state – someone experiencing this might note:
  • Cravings
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia or fatigue
  • Lack of concentration
  • Coughs
  • Dryness in the mouth
  • Sore tongue and gums
  • Headaches
  • Mental confusion
  • Tingling
  • Anxiety or- depression
This is where NRT ( Nicotine Replacement Therapy) can assist.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products act by replacing the source of the nicotine. Removing the catastrophic effects of inhaled additives in cigarettes and the combustion byproducts (e.g. carbon monoxide) associated with smoking means that significant health benefits are delivered through using NRT. NRT products also provide an easily recognizable dose that can be easily monitored, thus allowing measurable reduction of dose over time.

The issue with smoking cigarettes is not so much the nicotine, but the delivery mechanism. The oxygen depleted air, and the cancerous byproducts of the tobacco burning process are the real health risk factors ; nicotine cannot be pronounced “safe “but the relative risk profile of longer term nicotine use via NRT is logically lower than the risk of continuing smoking. So NRT helps an individual avoid the huge risks of smoking, whilst still providing a reduced amount of nicotine such that “cold turkey “withdrawal effects are minimised. . NRT products also provide an easily recognizable dose that can be easily monitored. This allows measurable reduction to occur over time.

Another study (2) says:

“If a smoker wants to stop, help should be offered. A few key points can be covered with the smoker in 5-10 minutes: set a date to stop and stop completely on that day; review past experience to determine what helped and what hindered; plan ahead, identify future problems and make a plan to deal with them; tell family and friends and enlist their support; plan what to do about alcohol; try nicotine replacement therapy: use whichever product suits best.

Nicotine replacement therapy approximately doubles cessation rates compared with controls (placebo or no nicotine replacement therapy), irrespective of the intensity of adjunctive support. All four products (gum, patch, nasal spray, inhalator) have similar success rates, and there is no published evidence yet from controlled trials to favour one product over another. Nicotine replacement therapy is safe and should be routinely recommended to smokers, the choice of product depending on practical and personal considerations.“

And that’s where NicotineDirect.com comes in.

We offer a range of NRT products, information on their use, smart pricing and internet convenience.

What NRT products are there? Nicotine can be absorbed through the buccal lining (the lining in your mouth), the nasal lining or through your skin. Nicotine gums, lozenges, sublingual microtabs and nicotine inhalers act via the mouth; transdermal patches allow nicotine absorption via the skin. No evidence exists to suggest one form of NRT is superior to any other;

What about addiction to an NRT product? “Most of the time people who use NRT to stop smoking gradually reduce or stop NRT medicine as prescribed without any difficulty. Some people keep using the gum, nasal spray or inhaler for a long time. We believe that using NRT long term is not ideal, but it is highly preferable to continuing to smoke. If the choice is between an NRT product and a tobacco product, the person should keep using NRT. (Our emphasis) If a person feels that gradually stopping NRT is very hard, he or she should speak with a doctor about the relative risks.”

Anecdotally, we have multiple episodes of clients raising this issue with their doctors. The responses reflect the reduced risk that NRT offers – doctors are invariably happier with their clients using NRT than smoking, and while they will encourage people to gradually reduce their dependence on their NRT product, they also appear less concerned about long-term use of NRT. However, if you fall into this category, we recommend you raise this issue with your doctor.

We will add further information to this page from time to time, and welcome your questions. Please email us.

References:

  1. Putting Evidence into Practice; Smoking Cessation
  2. Professionally endorsed, evidence and consensus based guidelines on smoking cessation for the English healthcare system



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