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In the past 20 years, the smoking cessation market has become saturated with new products aimed at helping smokers quit. The most prominent of which are “Nicotine Replacement Therapy” products like the nicotine patch or gum. After the patch and gum had been around a while, we started to see quit smoking medications like Chantix and Buprion pop up. And more recently, other products like electronic cigarettes and nicotine-free cigarettes have hit the market that are aimed at replacing the rituals of smoking rather than the nicotine ingestion.
Quit Smoking Community is dedicated to helping you navigate the complex world of smoking cessation products. Many of these products are not only ineffective, but dangerous. Other products have proven to be both safe and effective in treating tobacco addiction. We urge you to read our analysis of each of these products before purchasing anything. Our team has done the research and, between all of us, have first-hand experience with almost each of these products. So dig in and figure out which smoking cessation tool fits your needs!
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
Nicotine replacement therapy is the most well-known category of smoking cessation tools. The idea behind these products is to allow smokers to get nicotine into their body without having to inhale the toxic ash and tar found in tobacco smoke. When someone trying to quit smoking has nicotine in their bloodstream, the difficult withdrawal symptoms dissipate or even disappear completely. NRT products are typically sold in various stages, to make it easier for users to wean down over time. The most popular NRT products are the nicotine patch and nicotine gum.
smoking cessation toolsNicotine patches hit the market way back in 1991, and they have been popular ever since. They are transdermal patches that have a set amount of nicotine in them that is released evenly over 24 hours. Nicoderm CQ is the name brand that dominates the market but there are others, including generic brands created by Equate and CVS, among others.
Nicotine patches are typically sold in 3 different steps. The first step contains 21 milligrams of nicotine, the second step 14mg and the third step 7mg. Lighter smokers can start at the 2nd or 3rd step, the recommendations for which step to start on can be found on the box. The recommended time to use nicotine patches is 6-10 weeks depending on how many cigarettes were smoked per day.
Read our page on nicotine patches to learn more!
Nicotine Gum works similarly to patches, except instead of the nicotine being absorbed through the skin, it is absorbed through the gums as the user chews. It is also sold with varying amounts of nicotine depending on how heavily a person smoked.
Nicotine gum has been proven to be a bit more shaky than the patch when it comes to both short and long term side effects.
Read our Nicotine Gum article to learn more about how nicotine gum works and some of the issues concerning its side effects!
The nicotine inhaler is one of the least well-known Nicotine Replacement Therapy products. They were fairly big a few years ago but have been overtaken by electronic cigarettes which offer more customization with flavors and a realistic vapor to better emulate smoking. If you prefer an FDA approved products over the in-limbo electronic cigarettes, than the nicotine inhaler may be for you.
It works much like a cigarette, you take a puff whenever you want some relief from the nicotine cravings. It delivers the nicotine without the tar and ash found in tobacco smoke.
Read our Nicotine Inhaler article to learn more about these devices!
Smoking Cessation Medication
Smoking cessation medication is a much more recent development than nicotine replacement therapy products. The most well-known medication is Varenicline, which is branded as Chantix in the United States. The other medication of note is Bupropion, sold most notably as Wellbutrin and Zyban.
Varenicline (Chantix) and Buproprion
Varenicline works by lightly stimulating the nicotine receptors in the brain, which is supposed to both ease the cravings and make smoking tobacco much less enjoyable. However, please note that Chantix has been noted to have two very serious side effects. Many users have reported depression and suicidal ideation (some have even attempted suicide), and an increase in cardiovascular events in people with preexisting cardiovascular conditions.
Buproprion is used both as an anti-depressant and a smoking cessation drug. As an anti-depressant, it is typically sold as Wellbutrin. As a quit smoking medication, it is sold as Zyban.
Be sure to click the link above to read our full guide to quit smoking medications! Please do because both of these drugs can have serious side effects that you need to be aware of.
Other Smoking Cessation Tools
While nicotine replacement and medication are the most prevalent smoking cessation tools, there are others. Nicotine-free and electronic cigarettes have both been used as alternatives to tobacco.
Electronic cigarettes are a bit of a tweener product. Consumers can choose whether they want nicotine in it or not. So if they do choose e-cigarettes containing nicotine, than they are technically a nicotine replacement therapy product. However, many electronic cigarette users choose non-nicotine e-cigarettes. They simply use them to replace the ritual of smoking. Seeing the vapor come out of their mouth and tasting the various flavors has been said to seriously help reduce the mental part of the nicotine withdrawal. Check out our electronic cigarette review page to learn more about these exciting new products:
Many consumers believe that if they replace tobacco cigarettes with some other kind of cigarette that it is safer. But this is not true! Nicotine-free cigarettes typically contain MORE tar than tobacco cigarettes and can still result in all the short and long term negative side effects of normal smoking. Using these products means you have to still deal with the physical withdrawal of nicotine, while still subjecting yourself huge amounts of tar and ash. Please read our page on Nicotine Free Cigarettes to learn more about why you need to avoid nicotine-free cigarettes!