Quit Smoking Treatments
Quit Smoking Treatment Online
If you would like to try to quit smoking, our online doctor can help. Just fill out our online assessment, select your treatment option, and our doctors will then assess its suitability for you during a brief consult. Once approved by our doctor, the pharmacy team will dispense your medication and post it to your address. All medicines sourced by the pharmacy are from Australian wholesalers, who are fully licensed in Australia, so you can be confident that you are receiving genuine medication.
Why Quit Smoking?
Smoking increases your risks of heart disease, stroke, cancer, airway diseases, infections, diabetes, dental problems, insomnia, fertility problems, erectile dysfunction, hair loss, vision loss, and hearing loss. That’s a long list of health risks. The good news is many of these risks can be permanently lowered back to if you had never had smoked in the first place.
The effect of stopping smoking can have quick health benefits, dispelling the notion that it’s too late to quit. The effects can be placed on a timeline:
- In 20 minutes your blood pressure and pulse will return to normal
- In 12 hours excess toxic carbon monoxide is out of your blood
- In 5 days most nicotine is cleared from the body
- In 7 days your sense of taste and smell improve
- In 1 month your lung function and skin improve
- In 2 months your lungs no longer produce extra mucus
- In 3 months your blood circulation improves
- In 9 months without cigarette smoke, your lung function has drastically improved
- In 12 months your risk of heart disease HALVES
- In 5 years your risk of stroke drops drastically
- In 10 years your risk of various cancers, especially lung cancer, HALVES and continues to fall down to the point of a non-smoker
- In 15 to 20 years your risk of heart attack and stroke is close to the same as when you never smoked
Another benefit of smoking cessation is the huge amount of money saved by stopping smoking. The Australian Bureau of Statistics data suggests that the average smoker smokes about 12 cigarettes daily. Paired with the ever-increasing cost of a pack, it ends up being around an average of $5,200 per year and rising.
What Happens When you Quit Smoking?
When quitting smoking it’s likely you will get withdrawal symptoms. These can vary from person to person however they are usually short-lived and always temporary.
The difficulty in quitting smoking largely comes from how addictive nicotine is. Smoking delivers nicotine quickly from the lungs to the blood and then the brain. It then causes the reward centre of the brain to release a happiness chemical, dopamine.
- Cigarette cravings (the desire to smoke)
- Increased appetite - acting on this can cause you to gain weight
- Anxiety and feeling stressed
- Frustration, anger, and irritability
- Difficulty concentrating
- Restlessness and tremors
While this list may be daunting, it’s important to remember these are usually short-lived lasting a few days to a couple of weeks. Comparing this to the life-altering or ending health risks and the ever-increasing cost of smoking, quitting becomes a very appealing choice.
How to Quit Smoking
There are many treatments available to assist with stopping tobacco smoking, each with varied success rates. Quitting without support from family, friends and health professionals has around a 5% success rate per attempt. This dramatically improves to upwards of 30% when you have the right support to help you quit. For your best chance of quitting it’s recommended that if you are considering quitting that you discuss all your options with health care professionals.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) aids in quitting smoking by providing a small amount of nicotine to relieving withdrawal symptoms and lowering the urge to smoke. NRT comes in a variety of forms:
A nicotine patch will provide a background level of nicotine throughout the day, reducing cravings. The other NRT options provide a fast-absorbing hit of nicotine which is useful in beating cravings as they happen. This dual treatment NRT has been shown to be more effective than just using quick-release NRT alone.
The side effects of NRT can be irritation from patches, difficulty sleeping, nausea, excess saliva production, and headaches.
Tablets to Quit Smoking
There are two prescription tablets for smoking cessation. Both treatments work dampening the brains response to nicotine, providing less reward and desire to smoke.
The first treatment is taken on a gradually increasing dose schedule, starting out at once in the morning and then twice daily on the fourth day. This is a 12-week treatment with the following goals:
- Weeks 1-4 - Reduction in the number of daily cigarettes by half.
- Weeks 5-8 - Reduction by a further half.
- Weeks 9-12 - Smoking no cigarettes by the last day of week 12.
The side effects of this treatment can be similar to nicotine withdrawal symptoms. They can include changes in mood, agitation, difficulty sleeping, unusual dreaming, aggression, and increased appetite. This treatment should be stopped and health advice sought if serious aggression or negative thoughts occur.
Going Cold Turkey
This method refers to when you aim to quit without any NRT, tablets, or alternate quitting methods. These unassisted attempts usually result in heavy nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Because of this it only has around a 5% success rate for quitting for longer than 6-12 months.
Quit Smoking Through Hypnosis
This method involves going to hypnotherapy sessions. Hypnosis involves putting a person into a calm and relaxed state which is said to increase their willingness to listen to the suggestion. Hypnotherapists tend to focus their suggestions on creating subconscious unpleasant feelings about smoking. There is no clinical evidence that this is effective although it may be useful in patients whose smoking is mentally or emotionally driven.
Support Services for Quitting Smoking
There are a number of different, free services you can access to assist with quitting. Calling the Quitline is one of the best options when first attempting to quit. Quitline is a government-run program that connects you to professional quitting counsellors. Their number is 13 7848.
If you would prefer to manage your own quitting journey but would still like the information you can use QuitCoach, an online guide service.
There are multiple apps available for assistance quitting. They aim to keep track of your progress, goals, and health benefits relating to quitting.
Starting smoking again after quitting for a period of time is normal. What’s important is that you accept that it happened and continue your attempts to quit. A slip-up in achieving your cut down goal it’s no reason to give up, in fact, it’s best treated as a learning experience for what may trigger your smoking relapses in future.
For assistance please email Simple Online Doctor customer support for more information on the treatments available.