About 90% of people who try to quit smoking do it by going cold turkey. But it’s not the most effective and successful method. Only about 10% of people who try to quit this way succeed on their first try.
When you quit, it’s the lack of nicotine that creates the withdrawal symptoms quitters experience. Most people will need help for the first tough days of quitting.
Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal generally start within 2-3 hours after the last tobacco use and will peak about 2-3 days later. Symptoms may be severe depending on how long you have smoked and how many cigarettes you smoked each day.
You can get a milder form of nicotine withdrawal when you switch from regular to low-nicotine cigarettes or significantly cut down on the number of cigarettes smoked.
The majority of quitters don’t gain weight, and for those that do, it’s usually about five to eight pounds. Fear of weight gain is one of the biggest reasons smokers don’t want to quit. Often, pounds are put on when people substitute food for cigarettes. It’s important to remember that the health benefits of quitting are so much greater than any risks from weight gain.
Here are a few things to do if you’re trying to quit:
Even if you’re older, quitting smoking has immediate benefits to your health. Your circulation improves and your lungs start to repair the damage. There is strong evidence that quitting smoking even late in life not only adds years, but can improve your quality of life immensely.
Using a tobacco cessation plan and nicotine replacement therapy can double your success rate over trying to quit cold turkey. Online quitting programs and toll-free quitting services have been helpful to thousands of people who are trying to quit and trying to stay quit.
For important reasons, electronic cigarettes are not a good choice as a cessation aid for the person who is trying to quit smoking:
It’s already difficult enough to quit, so choose a nicotine replacement product that isn’t going to trigger emotional feelings about the act of smoking.
Multiple quit attempts are very common. In fact, it can take five to seven tries to completely quit. Don’t give up! The health benefits are so valuable and when you do finally quit for the last time, freedom from the nicotine drug will be worth it.
You can’t force someone to quit, but you can be supportive. Learn how you can help someone quit using tobacco.
E-cigarettes come in many forms and are known by different names, including “e-cigs,” “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” “tank systems,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems” (ENDS). These products are battery-operated devices designed to deliver nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals in the form of an aerosol that users inhale.
E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine derived from tobacco. Generally, e-cigarettes that contain nicotine that comes from tobacco meet the definition of a “tobacco product” under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. A federal appellate court decision (Sottera, Inc. v. Food & Drug Administration, 2010) ruled that FDA must regulate e-cigarettes and other products made or derived from tobacco as tobacco products under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (2009), unless they are marketed for therapeutic purposes (e.g., marketed as products that help smokers quit).
Youth and young adults say they use e-cigarettes for a variety of reasons, including:
E-cigarettes are marketed using themes, product designs, and approaches that have been used to market conventional tobacco products to young people.
The brain is the last organ in the human body to develop fully. Brain development continues to about the early to mid-20s. E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine. Nicotine disrupts the development of brain circuits that control attention and learning, and young people who use e-cigarettes and other tobacco products are at risk for deficits in these areas. Adolescence is a critical period for brain development, and brain development continues into young adulthood. Young people who use e-cigarettes and other tobacco products are uniquely at risk for long-term, long-lasting effects of exposing their developing brains to nicotine. In addition to learning and cognitive deficits, and susceptibility to addiction, these risks include mood disorders and permanent lowering of impulse control. The nicotine in e-cigarettes and other tobacco products can also affect the development of the brain’s reward system, priming the adolescent brain for addiction to other drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine.