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 is “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 Bupropion pop up. More recently, other products like nicotine-free cigarettes have hit the market aimed at replacing the rituals of smoking rather than the nicotine ingestion. So let’s 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 tools Nicotine 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.
You can find nicotine patches sold in 3 different levels. The first level contains 21 milligrams of nicotine. The second level is 14mg, and the third level is 7mg. Lighter smokers can start at the second or third level. You can find the recommendation for which level to start on the box. The recommended amount time to use nicotine patches is 6-10 weeks depending on how many cigarettes you smoke 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. They also sell it with varying amounts of nicotine depending on how heavily a person smokes.
Nicotine gum has been proven to be a bit shakier 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. If you prefer an FDA approved products over the in-limbo electronic cigarettes, then a 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 Bupropion
Varenicline works by lightly stimulating the nicotinic receptors in the brain, which is supposed to ease the cravings both 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.
Bupropion is used both as an anti-depressant and a smoking cessation drug. As an antidepressant, they typically sell it as Wellbutrin. As a quit smoking medication, they sell it as Zyban.
Be sure to click the link to read our full guide to quit smoking medications! Please do because both of these drugs can have serious side effects.
Other Smoking Cessation Methods
While nicotine replacement and medication are the most prevalent smoking cessation tools, there are others. Some people have resorted to using Nicotine-free cigarettes as an alternative.
Some may believe that if they were to replace tobacco cigarettes with some other kind of Nicotine-free cigarette that it is safer. However, 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!