Given the widely accepted knowledge of smoking's negative long-term health effects, there has been significant research into smoking cessation treatments. Like many habits, smoking is not easy to quit. The nicotine in cigarettes is an addictive substance, making quitting difficult without help. Thankfully, there are many treatments available to help people quit smoking. These range from nicotine replacement therapy to prescription medications.
There are two nicotine-free prescription smoking cessation drugs available on the UK market: Zyban (bupropion, also prescribed as an anti-depressant) and Champix (varenicline). Zyban has been shown to be twice as effective as a placebo, whereas Champix has been three times as effective as a placebo. Champix is recognised as the most effective nicotine-free prescription smoking treatment.
Champix is a smoking cessation treatment that is clinically proven to be effective in helping smokers overcome nicotine addiction. Its active ingredient is varenicline, which mimics nicotine's effect on the body. This helps you to quit smoking in two ways: reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms, as well as lessening the enjoyment cigarettes provide and decreasing the temptation to smoke.
Champix's success rate is higher than any other smoking cessation treatment; it makes smokers nearly three times more likely to quit. It has also been proven to be more effective than nicotine replacement therapy, particularly for long-term smoking abstinence. It is available in 0.5mg and 1mg tablets, and is typically prescribed in a twelve week course.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is another smoking cessation treatment option. NRT works by steadily releasing low levels of nicotine into the bloodstream, without the other toxic chemicals present in tobacco smoke. This helps to control cigarette cravings. NRT comes in various forms including skin patches, chewing gum, inhalators, tablets and lozenges. With this therapy, however, there are concerns that smokers are more likely to relapse as their nicotine addiction is not fully broken.
Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are sometimes considered as another option to help smokers quit. These devices mimic real cigarettes by producing a vapour that contains nicotine but fewer of the other harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke. E-cigarettes are relatively new, so there is insufficient research into their long term health effects and whether they are actually healthier than smoking cigarettes. Visit our stop smoking aids page for other options to help you quit.
*The medical sources used for this article can be viewed on our legal page.