Quitting smoking: exploring the options

06 May 2016 Chris James   Health and wellbeing

With the risks of smoking being well documented, it's becoming increasingly more important for smokers to quit. But what is the best way for you to quit? Unless you live under a rock, you'll have heard a lot about e-cigarettes in the news recently and how they are revolutionising the way that people quit smoking. Whilst the topic is fresh in our minds, we thought we'd explore the topic of e-cigarettes and the other options to quitting smoking such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).

How do e-cigarettes work?

Firstly, it's important that you understand why smoking is so addictive and dangerous. Tobacco smoke delivers high quantities of highly-addicting nicotine quickly to the lungs, where it then enters the bloodstream before being delivered to the brain. Nicotine in itself is not highly hazardous; the majority of health problems associated with smoking come from the tobacco smoke, which is carcinogenic.

E-cigarettes provide smokers with the nicotine they are addicted to without the harmful tobacco smoke. The nicotine is inhaled in a vapour that is generated by heating a complex solution of water, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine and flavouring. As such, there are far less toxins present in the vapour smoke so it is a safer alternative to smoking.

What's the problem with e-cigarettes?

Whilst e-cigarettes are safer than normal cigarettes, this doesn't necessarily mean that they are safe altogether. The longterm effects of vaping are still unknown. Due to the inhalation of other chemicals, it could do some damage to the body in the longterm. They could be a good substitute to smoking whilst you're trying to quit, but the end goal should always be to stop smoking altogether. The issues with e-cigarettes lies within the way that they are beginning to become something of a trend.

What other options do I have to quit smoking?

There are many health benefits of quitting smoking, so it is something all smokers should aim to do. Other than vaping, you can try Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to wean you off cigarettes.

What is Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)?

NRT is a way of getting nicotine into the bloodstream without actually smoking. It can help to prevent the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and helps you to quit smoking without those unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. There are a number of NRT products available, with chewing gum, patches and inhalators all proving to be popular options. What's more, it's been proven that you're four times more likely to successfully quit if you combine nicotine replacement therapy with one-to-one support.

If you want to talk to someone about quitting smoking, get in touch with our pharmacy team today.

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