Quitting Smoking

Quitting smoking is one of the most difficult things a person can do. Its also one of the best things you can do for your own health and for that of your family. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in adults increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, emphysema, lung cancer as well as cancers of the esophagus, cervix, bladder and many other organs. Children who grow up in homes where one parent smokes are twice as likely to smoke as other children, even if the parent never smokes at home.

If you have tried before and failed, try again. The average person who finally quits for good has tried to quit 6-8 times before. Some are successful the first time and others take a dozen attempts. The only thing that we know for sure is that if you don't try you will never succeed. The links below will take you to several resources that may help you in your attempt to quit. Please look them over and if you have any questions or need further help contact your doctor for more information.

Smoking Cessation Aids and Methods

There are many methods to help people quit smoking and for each method there are people who have had success.
  • Cold Turkey - This is one of the most common methods. This method  has a success rate of less than 10% but it increases with each attempt and the success rate is proportional to motivation. The more you want to quit the more likely you are to succeed but this applies to all cessation methods.
  • Nicotine Replacement Products - This includes the nicotine patch, gum, and inhaler. The patch and gum are available over the counter without a prescription and some municipalities will provide them for free (See resources below). Nicotine products can increase the success rate to 15-20%
  • Zyban (bupropion) - This is a medication which requires a prescription that is in pill form. It can also improve success rates up to about 20%. The main side effects are insomnia and dry mouth
  • Chantix (varenicline) - Chantix is also a prescription medication available in pill form. Success rates with this medication have been reported as varying from 7%-30% depending on the type of support provided.
  • Combination therapy - Some of the above methods can be used in combination in an attempt to improve success rates

Other options - Other methods including hypnosis and acupuncture are available but there is limited information on their effectiveness.

eCigarettes - This has become a popular alternative to smoking for some people and while many users have assumed ecigs to be safer than smoking, recent cases of severe lung damage from some products and the lack of any controlled trials,  product standardization or regulation, make it impossible to recommend these products at this time.

Resource Links

Our Tobacco Cessation Programs at NYU Langone can help you quit smoking and using other tobacco products.
Provides a number of resources including free daily text messaging and support to help you quit
This is an excellent booklet that is actually helpful for people of all ages who want to quit. Don't let the title hold you back if you're not 50 yet.