CocktailNerd Infographic: What’s the Best Way to Quit Tobacco?

Every week, curious smokers flock to our website looking for information about electronic cigarettes. While our readers come from all kinds of backgrounds and live in places all over the world, they have one thing in common. They are mostly all smokers and they are usually looking at e-cigarettes because they know they need to quit tobacco. With so many of our readers hoping to quit tobacco use once and for all, we took a closer look at what it takes to kick the habit. The results are featured on our brand new infographic: “Chances of a New Dawn: Quitting Aid Success Rate”. Let’s take a closer look at this infographic and learn which methods are most successful to help people quit smoking.

In order to fully investigate all the most popular quitting aids, we compiled research from half a dozen different studies. You can find them sources for the original studies listed at the bottom of this article if you want to check them out. Using these studies, we learned what percentage of smokers was successfully able to quit using each method. The results are based on 6-month success rates.

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Keep in mind that each study varied and some sample groups were seeking to quit while others weren’t necessarily going into the studies with that intention. Still, the results of each study showed us the overall success rate of each method. Do you want to see how they stacked up? Let’s work our way up from least effective to most effective.

7. Nicotine Gum – 8.4%

Nicotine gum was the least successful quitting aid, with only 8.4% of smokers successfully giving up cigarettes after six months. To use nicotine gum, you chew it a few times, then hold it next to your cheek for a few minutes to allow nicotine to enter your blood stream. You repeat this several times a day. On the plus side, the chewing gum is a good idea because it keeps your mouth busy and addresses the oral fixation that is a problem for smokers. Unfortunately, it’s not always effective because it’s pretty expensive and the gum can cause throat and stomach irritation.

6. Nicotine Patch – 9.2%

The nicotine patch was just a tiny bit more successful than gum. For this method, a smoker applies a small nicotine patch to the skin and then changes it once a day. Over time, the patch is switched to a gradually lower dose of nicotine to wean the body down and prevent withdrawals. This method is easy to use, but it doesn’t address the oral fixation at all. Even worse, it’s expensive and you have to wear the patches for a long time to successfully break nicotine addiction.

5. Nicotine Lozenge 9.8%

The nicotine lozenge is similar to gum, but a tiny bit more successful. Instead of chewing it, you suck on it and absorb nicotine into your bloodstream. It seems to work better than the gum because it causes less irritation to the throat and stomach. However, it’s still expensive and not easy to find. Overall, a 9.8 percent success rate still isn’t all that promising.

4. Nicotine Inhaler – 13%

A doctor typically prescribes nicotine inhalers, but they do have a slightly higher success rate than gums, lozenges, and patches. The inhaler releases aerosol nicotine solution, which the smoker inhales. It kind of mimics the smoking action, which is a good thing. However, the success rate isn’t high enough to make us feel too hopeful that this one will be the key for most smokers to kick the habit.

3. Prescription Medication – 14 – 21%

Over the past few years, prescription medications have been the newest trend to stop smoking. Doctors typically prescribe either Chantix or Bupropion pills. You usually have to take them for at least 12 weeks so it’s definitely not a quick fix. They do have a much higher success rate and it’s an easy method to use since you are just popping a pill. Unfortunately, these medications have some really nasty side effects. Some of the most common side effects are dry mouth, insomnia, stomach upset, depression, hostility, suicidal thoughts, and strange dreams.

2.Cold Turkey – 22%

The good old-fashioned cold turkey method is definitely still an option for a lot of smokers. This involves basically dumping your cigarettes in the garbage and giving them up without a back-up plan. There is no help to fight withdrawals and you just tough it out for a while until the addiction is broken. This is definitely the cheapest and fastest way to quit smoking. But you have to be really strong to tough it out! Nicotine withdrawal is not joke… be prepared for anxiety, irritability, restlessness, and anger. It’s not going to be a picnic, but if you can handle it, the success rate is pretty good at 22 percent.

1. E-Cigarettes – 31%

It turns out that e-cigarettes are the most successful way to give up tobacco! Though not marketed for this purpose, many smokers use e-cigs to quit smoking because they so closely mimic the taste, look, and feel of cigarettes. You inhale a vaporized nicotine solution that is water-based and flavored. There is no tar or carcinogens and it’s generally inexpensive when compared to other quitting aids. Over time, you can reduce the nicotine concentration until the solution you use is completely nicotine-free.

Nearly one third of smokers were successfully able to quit tobacco after 6 months with e-cigarettes. The only downside is that it can be difficult to find the e-cig model you love and a flavor you will enjoy. The good news is that CocktailNerd can help! By reviewing dozens of e-cig models and flavors, we can point you in the right direction so it’s easy to start your quitting journey on the right foot.

Sources:

Nicotine gum and patch: Shiffman, S., Rolf, C., Hellebusch, S.J., Gorsline, J., Gorodetzky, C.W., Chiang, Y. et al. (2001). “Real world efficacy of prescription and over-the counter nicotine replacement therapy.” Addiction, 97, 505-516.

Cold Turkey: Cheong, Y., H.H. Yong, R. Borland (2007). “Does how you quit affect success?: a comparison between abrupt and gradual methods using data from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Study.” Oxford Journals: Nicotine & Tobacco Research. 9(8): 801-810.

Nicotine Lozenge – Shiffman S., Dresler C.M., Hajek P., Gilburt S.J.A., Targett D.A., & Strahs K.R. (2002). “Efficacy of a nicotine lozenge for smoking cessation.” Archives of Internal Medicine, (162):1267-1276.

Nicotine Inhaler – Hjalmarson A, Nilsson F, Sjöström L, Wiklund O. (1997). “The nicotine inhaler in smoking cessation.” Arch Intern Med. 1997(15):1721-8.

Prescription Medication:

Chantix – Hughes JR, Rennard SI, Fingar JR, Talbot SK, Callas PW, Fagerstrom (2011) Efficacy of varenicline to prompt quit attempts in smokers not currently trying to quit: a randomized placebo controlled trial. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, (10):955–964

Bupropion – Paluck EC, McCormack JP, Ensom MH, et al. (2006) “Outcomes of bupropion therapy for smoking cessation during routine clinical use.” Annals of Pharmacotherapy. (40):185–90.

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Author Focus: Katie Bercham
Katie actually had a negative first experience of electronic cigarettes, picking up a cheap and horrible model from my local mall. Thanks to a chance meeting with co-editor David, she hasn’t had a tobacco cigarette in over 2 years. She brings a strong female voice to the e-cig community... Read Full Profile >