Something I don't understand about quit smoking aids

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I've always wondered what is the point of quit smoking aids such as gum, lozenges, or patches. The goal to quitting smoking is to rid oneself of the addiction to nicotine, correct? So, how does having an alternate nicotine source help? It seems sort of counter productive as wouldn't you just be continuing to fulfill the addiction?

Isn't the point to rid yourself of the addiction entirely instead of just shifting the way it is administered? It sounds like the same thing as quitting cigarettes by replacing it with dip or chewing tobacco.

To me quitting cold turkey which is difficult seems like the only effective option. Of course I could be completely wrong about this and is why I'm asking.

EDIT: Alright from what I gather from most of the responses is that quit smoking aids are a healthier way to get nicotine or they are used to gradually taper off.

So with the first one you basically will just chew nicotine gum, use a patch, or a lozenge for the rest of your life instead of smoking?

For the second method of tapering off I could just compare this to gradually reducing the amounts of cigarettes you smoke a day. I've read from various sources that that is just prolonging your suffering by doing this. The whole "not enough puff" thing comes to mind. Sure, the aids aren't as harmful as actual cigarettes but are still fulfilling an addiction that tapering off is supposed to eventually eliminate entirely right?.

Not many people have the willpower to go cold turkey. The idea is to slowly cut down using the alternatives, which are less harmful than smoking a cigarette.

The point of the gum, lozenges, patches etc... is that they help break the habit of lighting up
a cigarette, so that once the habit is broken the user can then try to tackle the chemical addiction
without having to deal with the habit at the same time.
Cold Turkey is definitely one effective quitting method, but different methods work better for different people.
What I always recommend to smokers is that they measure how many cigarettes they smoke in an average day,
and make that their limit--never smoke more than that limit. Then decrease that number slowly.
(Say a man finds that he smokes 20 cigarettes on an average day. He makes that his limit and for a week
never smokes more than 20 a day. The next week he cuts back and never smokes more than 19 a day. The following
week he cuts down to 18 a day etc...) Then when s/he is down to five or so a day look into quitting cold turkey,
or other quitting methods.
I've never really smoked, but this was pretty much the method I very successfully used to quit sweetened
beverages.

BlackStar42:
Not many people have the willpower to go cold turkey. The idea is to slowly cut down using the alternatives, which are less harmful than smoking a cigarette.

aaaaand /thread.

Having nicotine gum or patches is a hell of a lot healthier than sucking some smoke into your lungs.

Sorry for the maybe silly, and very possibly off topic, question, but where does the saying 'cold turkey' come from?

It's not about stopping your addiction to nicotine for most smokers, it's the fact that they don't like the actual act of smoking, the lung cancer that it causes, and the fact that they constantly smell like smoke. If they can get the same nicotine fix without the need to actually smoke cigarettes and inhale toxic smoke into their lungs then that's what they want.

KarmaTheAlligator:
Sorry for the maybe silly, and very possibly off topic, question, but where does the saying 'cold turkey' come from?

From Wikipedia:

"Here are several explanations of the phrase's origin:

A narrowing of the meaning "suddenly or without preparation," from cold turkey being a dish that requires little preparation; originally used for heroin addicts.

From the American phrase talk turkey meaning "to speak bluntly with little preparation".

Some believe the derivation is from the comparison of a cold turkey carcass and the state of a withdrawing addict - most notably, the cold sweats, goose bumps.

Reference to the periods after Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays where cold (leftover) turkey was likely to be eaten, coinciding with the end of those holidays' characteristically high alcohol consumption."

It's very hard to go Cold Turkey if you've been a chain-smoker for a long time. Yes, smoking aids contain Nicotine, but they don't contain as much as cigarettes. The idea is they they be used as a halfway house, easing your brains dependence on Nicotine until you are strong enough to drop it completely; and until you are, it's giving you the hit of Nicotine without all the other harmful substances you consume when you smoke a cigarette. So, even when it isn't fixing the problem, it's at least not making it any worse.

Queen Michael:
SNIP

Thanks. Guess I should have looked around a bit more than not at all.

Tell you what, take up smoking for 5 or more years and then go cold turkey .... come back and let me know how that works out for you.

My wife tried quitting cold turkey ... I bought her the bastard gum. She got irritable, snappy and was constantly stressed .... personally I didn't notice a difference (only joking if you read this my love)....

I'll be sleeping on the sofa from now on.

think it's all been said but i would add that nicotine replacement when used correctly is very effective in cutting down cigarette cravings and if 20 years down the track you find your self addicted to gum or tablets then it is still an improvement

The tar and carbon monoxide in tobacco is the worst thing. The nicotine is a secondary poison.

i'm no doctor but i think you should definitely quit smoking aids...

Aside from everything else people are saying, they're also useful for sating your nicotine fix during extended periods where you won't be able to smoke, like a long flight.

Sleekit:
i'm no doctor but i think you should definitely quit smoking aids...

^Exactly what I thought when I read the thread title. <3

OT: I think they can help ween someone off of both the nicotine addiction, and the physical action of smoking.

The theory:

Quit smoking aids are supposed to wean you off the drug by easing you into the removal of the activity itself, leaving only the addictive chemical. It's supposed to be easier to quit just nicotine rather than quitting nicotine and the whole experience of smoking at the same time,

The reality:

They do not help. You reinforce the idea that a: it's supposed to be easy to quit and b: you never deal with the fact that you're addicted to nicotine properly as your behaviour undermines you. This is why the quitting rates (Which are depressingly low) are the same cold-turkey or aided.

I quit cold-turkey, it's an experience you just have to suck up and push through don't kid yourself on.

Ando85:
I've always wondered what is the point of quit smoking aids such as gum, lozenges, or patches. The goal to quitting smoking is to rid oneself of the addiction to nicotine, correct? So, how does having an alternate nicotine source help? It seems sort of counter productive as wouldn't you just be continuing to fulfill the addiction?

Isn't the point to rid yourself of the addiction entirely instead of just shifting the way it is administered? It sounds like the same thing as quitting cigarettes by replacing it with dip or chewing tobacco.

To me quitting cold turkey which is difficult seems like the only effective option. Of course I could be completely wrong about this and is why I'm asking.

the idea here is to gradually lower the consumption. you do patch a day at first, then patch every second day, then patch a week and then quit finally. it is assumed to be easier to quit when you lower the habit over time instead of just instantly quitting.
also nicotine patches are healthier than cigarettes.

BlackStar42:
Not many people have the willpower to go cold turkey. The idea is to slowly cut down using the alternatives, which are less harmful than smoking a cigarette.

You-Have-No-Idea
(Okay, MAYBE you do, but then it'd ruin my intro.)

Quitting 'cold turkey' is SO DAMN HARD.

I started smoking, behind my father's back, in Middle School.
-Long story.

So when I decided to quit smoking, behind my parents backs, in high school.
Well, this was before the whole 'patches n' gum n' fake cigs...'
image

It's a long, hard, process that turned me into a bit of an assholes during the 'detox'.
Hardest thing I'll probably have to do, short of cutting off one of my own limbs.

You kids these days have no idea how lucky you are to have all these things to help you quit.

My dad was able to quit cold turkey, he was very good about it, didn't snap or nothing!

My mom has been trying to quit for years, she has constantly been on and off, saying that this time she will never start again...she always goes back on them. She has been off a year now, that is a record, hope it sticks.

I tried a cigarette (yeah, yeah, it was peer pressure) but I could barely smoke a puff without coughing badly, so I don't smoke and my health (and wallet) are better off for it.

How do you people keep up smoking? I know the nicotine is addictive, but I am surprised how many people can inhale smoke in their lungs without getting sick.

Most people (I believe) quit smoking for heatlth reasons, and the nicotine isn't the (main) health risk while smoking. Getting the addictive fix without the smoke and tar is already a big step up. And as others have said slowly lowering your nicotine intake is easier through patches (not sure about gum) than by just smoking less.

I believe the whole nicotine replacement therapy industry branch to be mostly less offensive forms of selling you the same poison at a significant markup, and I believe most products and procedures that are marketed as helping people to quit smoking to be either just ineffective or outright scams.

I took up smoking when I considered it to be the least offensive form to manifest my then prevalent misanthropy and fits of self loathing. I don't like you? Why, come, sit right next to me, let's have a chat while I blow the smoke of my cancer sticks right into your face.

Once I started feeling better, after about three years or so, I quit cold turkey. It's easy. You just don't buy cigarettes, you don't buy lighters, you don't even buy candles or force yourself to stay the hell away from people that smoke, since you will want to just make them offer you a fag or two, and you will most probably not be able to say NOOOOOOOOOO!

The withdrawal was very physical, making me dizzy, throw up a lot, shiver like it was Parkinson central. The smells and tastes of food and everything was overpowering, so just smelling a good cup of coffee or, say, a strawberry pie could make me go dry heave.

There was a long, very uncomfortable phase when I dreamt about smoking. There was a short phase that saw me considering going through the ashtrays at the hospital to see if there were any cigarette stumps that were not completely smoked up to the filter. When I caught myself suffering both physically and mentally, much like a junkie unable to score the next shot of heroin, something snapped into place inside my head and I found it very, very easy to just say no. No need for any of the stuff they're trying to sell.

Why the ads, you ask? Because the promise of something that makes life easier is just too good to ignore for most people.
Why are they selling all those items, you ask? Because there's always a chance a lot of folks will actually buy them.

...you really think they just take the same amount of nicotine for the rest of their lives through patches. No, they phase it out rather than suffering withdrawal symptoms.

The habit is the hardest thing about smoking to kick. It becomes a crutch in ones life. Some people have the will power to just stop. Others do not. Nicotine in the quantities that the average person takes in from patches is barely harmful. To be serious, most 24 hour patches contain approximately 2 - 4mg's of nicotine. Not that much and seriously not very harmful. There was a time when people were ingesting a lot more than that a day from pesticides.

Carbon Monoxide and the various chemicals that make up the tar are the really harmful side of smoking, and you do not get these from patches.

Another extremely harmful substance found in tailor made cigarettes is saltpeter. Ever wonder why your self-rolled cigarettes go out when left sitting a bit and tailor mades don't? It's the absence of saltpeter.

I only even know of this because of a close relative who works high up for a global tobacco company. He hates them by the way. Wastes every cent he can of theirs on "quality control" that doesn't need to be done. He tallied up last financial he wasted over 200million dollars of this companies money... just for teh lulz. lol

Anyways i digress. It's less harmful overall than smoking, doesn't really cost more in australia... and does help you ease off it.

I went cold turkey off of Alcohol and didn't touch a drop in 7 years. Only now have i started having the occasional glass of red, or a glass of beer. Not easy. So not easy. In fact, with how much of a social thing drinking is here, it is in some ways harder, as anywhere you go out for a recreational activity, there is likely to be people drinking/offering you drinks. And smokers are becoming completely shunned by society, so it's making the social aspect of it less pressuring.

Rambling. Shut up self.

I'm fairly certain they are just placebos. If you understand how placebos work (well no one really does but you get the point) then you will understand the point of patches and gum.

Quitting cold turkey really isn't difficult. I smoked 4-5 a day for about a year and quit rather suddenly on a whim about 4 months ago. Sure I felt the urge to smoke a bunch of times during the first month, but it's not a jeckyll/hyde type thing like some people make it out to be, where you turn into a raging, sweating, anxiety ridden beast. It's no more difficult than trying to give up sugary drinks or chocolate, and significantly easier than giving up meat.

Maybe I just wasn't smoking enough, but I would bet my tits that half the people who have exteme difficulty quitting do so because quitting is played up as being extremely difficult, precisely for the purpose of sellin gums and patches.

Eleuthera:
Most people (I believe) quit smoking for heatlth reasons, and the nicotine isn't the (main) health risk while smoking. Getting the addictive fix without the smoke and tar is already a big step up. And as others have said slowly lowering your nicotine intake is easier through patches (not sure about gum) than by just smoking less.

It's also quite an expensive habit... An old lady who lives near my dad is constantly smoking, she manages to get through about a carton a week. She does have and has had several serious health issues, including cancer which she somehow beat despite her age and her weak constitution, however that's beyond the point, as she's continued to smoke constantly despite everything. Hell, even her dog died from cancer from the smoke because she doesn't open any windows or ventilate her apartment properly.

It infuriates my dad to hell, because she constantly hounds him for money, after doing some math, about half of her pension is spent on ciggarettes, with the rest of it going towards the essentials and rent.

Baneat:
The theory:

They do not help. You reinforce the idea that a: it's supposed to be easy to quit and b: you never deal with the fact that you're addicted to nicotine properly as your behaviour undermines you. This is why the quitting rates (Which are depressingly low) are the same cold-turkey or aided.

I quit cold-turkey, it's an experience you just have to suck up and push through don't kid yourself on.

studies show that nicotine replacement is more effective than cold turkey. the results aren't great but they are there. i assume you mean in the case of long term relapse which is the same amongst nearly all forms of quitting while short term relapse is lower under aids

TizzytheTormentor:

I tried a cigarette (yeah, yeah, it was peer pressure) but I could barely smoke a puff without coughing badly, so I don't smoke and my health (and wallet) are better off for it.

How do you people keep up smoking? I know the nicotine is addictive, but I am surprised how many people can inhale smoke in their lungs without getting sick.

you would have a hard time finding a smoker that enjoyed their first cigarette but like all addictions eventually it becomes pleasant. comparably the average american can't stand vegemite but over here we friggn love the shit for no other reason than we gave it a chance when we were kids

WWmelb:
The habit is the hardest thing about smoking to kick. It becomes a crutch in ones life. Some people have the will power to just stop. Others do not. Nicotine in the quantities that the average person takes in from patches is barely harmful. To be serious, most 24 hour patches contain approximately 2 - 4mg's of nicotine. Not that much and seriously not very harmful. There was a time when people were ingesting a lot more than that a day from pesticides.

actually the nicotine in nicotine replacement therapy is a lot higher than you might think. sure a cigarette might have 12mg of nicotine while a tablet or gum has 1-4 but you do not smoke a whole cigarette, you might only inhale 50% of a cig while the rest burns away uninhaled and of that 50% your lungs will only absorb a small portion of that
when i first tried nicotine tablets i started on 4mg but even though i smoked up to 2 packs a day of 16mg a single tablet was enough to make me feel nauseous and dizzy
the effects of large doses of nicotine in a small period of time even to a long tern heavy smoker are very effective in temporarily easing cravings

manic_depressive13:
I'm fairly certain they are just placebos. If you understand how placebos work (well no one really does but you get the point) then you will understand the point of patches and gum.

Quitting cold turkey really isn't difficult. I smoked 4-5 a day for about a year and quit rather suddenly on a whim about 4 months ago. Sure I felt the urge to smoke a bunch of times during the first month, but it's not a jeckyll/hyde type thing like some people make it out to be, where you turn into a raging, sweating, anxiety ridden beast. It's no more difficult than trying to give up sugary drinks or chocolate, and significantly easier than giving up meat.

Maybe I just wasn't smoking enough, but I would bet my tits that half the people who have exteme difficulty quitting do so because quitting is played up as being extremely difficult, precisely for the purpose of sellin gums and patches.

no offense but i find that fairly naive
for starters there is a big difference in smoking 5 a day and smoking 20 a day. not to say you weren't addicted as even at those low doses you would have still developed a dependance on nicotine but it would have been nothing compared to the average smoker
stating that they are placebos is just purely wrong. a placebo by definition has no active ingredient while all forms of nicotine replacement have the active ingredient which is considered to be the most addictive in cigarettes

i'm not gonna say that gums/patches/tablets/inhalers are the most effective way to quit smoking, again i think champix is the best drug on the market, but as a way to cut down nicotine cravings while removing the mental addiction and bodily harm it is a valid option

lechat:

actually the nicotine in nicotine replacement therapy is a lot higher than you might think. sure a cigarette might have 12mg of nicotine while a tablet or gum has 1-4 but you do not smoke a whole cigarette, you might only inhale 50% of a cig while the rest burns away uninhaled and of that 50% your lungs will only absorb a small portion of that
when i first tried nicotine tablets i started on 4mg but even though i smoked up to 2 packs a day of 16mg a single tablet was enough to make me feel nauseous and dizzy

Actually the MG strength of a cigarette may say it is a 12mg cigarette, but is referring to the tar quantity. The average nicotine ammount is 10% of that, 1.2mg per cigarette.

A 4mg cig has 4mg of tar and .4mg of nicotine.

These also are the maximum ammounts of the chemicals in each cigarette, and the ACTUAL ammounts are roughly half the maximum.

This would explain the nausea from the replacements as they were actually probably higher than what you were used to

I think people prone to addiction are just prone to any kind of addiction.
You can shift the focus from smoking, to chewing, to drinking to whatever.
The bigger solution is to find out what ticks them off and causes them to do these actions.

Anyhow, as long as people stop smoking it is good enough for me.

The thing is that nicotine might be slightly toxic, but, it's among the least toxic chemicals that you inhale when you smoke. When you chew a nicotine gum you reduce the chance of lung cancer, you eliminate tissue damage in the lungs, there's no tar and it does not hurt your taste buds or cause bad breath.

It''s also hard for some to just give up the habit of smoking, the habit and the nicotine addiction is often considered to be two separate things to get out of your system. Getting nicotine from other sources breaks the habit without causing withdrawal. I don't know if this is true, but this is what someone I know who quit smoking told me, though she stopped without such aids.

Edit: Also smell triggers memories which can in turn trigger your brain to want the substance you're addicted to. I tried cutting back on coffee due to my coffee machine breaking. I went a week without any problems, but then I smelled it. It was hell, I spent an hour caught with the smell and being unable to get some of my own. I was unfocused, I was desperate, I had to have it, I was almost at the point of taking her cup, I was at the point of aggressive behaviour.

When smoking the smell sticks to your clothes, spiking memories constantly, but much more subtle. You avoid that with gum or patches.

WWmelb:

lechat:

actually the nicotine in nicotine replacement therapy is a lot higher than you might think. sure a cigarette might have 12mg of nicotine while a tablet or gum has 1-4 but you do not smoke a whole cigarette, you might only inhale 50% of a cig while the rest burns away uninhaled and of that 50% your lungs will only absorb a small portion of that
when i first tried nicotine tablets i started on 4mg but even though i smoked up to 2 packs a day of 16mg a single tablet was enough to make me feel nauseous and dizzy

Actually the MG strength of a cigarette may say it is a 12mg cigarette, but is referring to the tar quantity. The average nicotine ammount is 10% of that, 1.2mg per cigarette.

A 4mg cig has 4mg of tar and .4mg of nicotine.

These also are the maximum ammounts of the chemicals in each cigarette, and the ACTUAL ammounts are roughly half the maximum.

This would explain the nausea from the replacements as they were actually probably higher than what you were used to

thank you i should have checked that fact
also goes to validate what i was saying about nicotine replacement being pretty high strength
i should note that the tablets i was taking were recommended at (i think) 1 every 4 hours while a smoker is quite likely to have multiple cigarettes an hour

I'm back smoking now but I did quit for about 4 months once. The hardest part is the habit. You get used to certain cigarettes, like having one in the morning with your coffee, one after dinner and of course after sex. The gum gave me an alternative to the habit. There's different strength gum. You start at the strongest then in a week or two move down to the weakest and then in another week or two your addiction will have abated enough to stop taking the gum. It then helps to switch to regular gum for a few weeks which is a much easier habit to break. The point is to take in less nicotine day by day until you have no need for it. I never found the patches to help, they cut down the nicotine cravings but they do nothing for the habit. Also nicotine on it's own isn't anywhere near as bad as smoking

WWmelb:

lechat:

actually the nicotine in nicotine replacement therapy is a lot higher than you might think. sure a cigarette might have 12mg of nicotine while a tablet or gum has 1-4 but you do not smoke a whole cigarette, you might only inhale 50% of a cig while the rest burns away uninhaled and of that 50% your lungs will only absorb a small portion of that
when i first tried nicotine tablets i started on 4mg but even though i smoked up to 2 packs a day of 16mg a single tablet was enough to make me feel nauseous and dizzy

Actually the MG strength of a cigarette may say it is a 12mg cigarette, but is referring to the tar quantity. The average nicotine ammount is 10% of that, 1.2mg per cigarette.

A 4mg cig has 4mg of tar and .4mg of nicotine.

These also are the maximum ammounts of the chemicals in each cigarette, and the ACTUAL ammounts are roughly half the maximum.

This would explain the nausea from the replacements as they were actually probably higher than what you were used to

Yeah it's true that per unit there's more nicotine, but a person with a pack a day habit isn't meant to chew 20 pieces of gum a day. Can't find the box but I think it's recommended you take no more than 8 a day, I used to take about 5. Your only supposed to chew briefly then stop, pushing it between your gums and cheek until you get another craving. Another reason the gum is the one I'd prefer, it's slow release like the patches but it helps with the habit as well, giving you something to distract yourself.

You do realise not everyone is the same when it come to dealing with a task right? Just because one person can quit full stop and can go cold turkey willing doesn't mean everyone else can do the same thing.
It will be like telling a group of alcohol drinkers to quit drinking, some will do it easily while those are a heavy drinker find it more difficult.

TizzytheTormentor:

I tried a cigarette (yeah, yeah, it was peer pressure) but I could barely smoke a puff without coughing badly, so I don't smoke and my health (and wallet) are better off for it.

How do you people keep up smoking? I know the nicotine is addictive, but I am surprised how many people can inhale smoke in their lungs without getting sick.

3-hit combo of peer pressure, alcohol, and desensitivity to the act. AKA your around some friends who smoke, your inhibitions may be lowered from alcohol, and you see them smoking and think "hey, why not give it (another) go? Maybe I'll like it (this time)." Then eventually you do "like" it.

--

Edit: Right, the topic. The idea is help ween yourself off the drug and to break the habit/oral fixation of the actual act. Of course that's already been said a few times, so yeah.

Rawne1980:
Tell you what, take up smoking for 5 or more years and then go cold turkey .... come back and let me know how that works out for you.

Pretty good actually and this is coming from someone who smoked for the best part of 20 years.I tried all the gum,patches and other bullshit and none of it helped.In the end cold turkey was the only thing that worked for me

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