Quitting smoking is a great way to prevent heart disease and several forms of cancer. It is one of the most effective ways to life a longer and healthier life. The good news is that more than half of US adults who have smoked in the past have successfully quit.

But what are some good strategies?

Many patients find that setting a date for smoking cessation is helpful. Looking for triggers and eliminating them can also help. For patients in the habit of smoking with, say, drinking coffee, cutting down on coffee drinking and going for a walk instead could eliminate that trigger. Keeping a diary can help locate and eliminate trouble spots. Another method is to write down all the benefits that quitting will bring. This could include being able to breathe better, food tasting better, being a role model to children, saving money, or eliminating the odor of smoke in the house.

Counseling is also available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has a free confidential hotline for smokers who want to quit. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

When the craving for nicotine is problematic, nicotine patches can be used. They come in three strengths, with 21mg, 14mg, and 7mg. The patch is applied daily to clean, dry, and ideally hairless skin. After a few weeks, patients reduce their doses of nicotine until they are able to eliminate the patch altogether. Nicotine is also available in chewing gum, inhalers, lozenges, and nasal spray, with much the same effectiveness.

Wellbutrin (bupropion) is an antidepressant also used to help stop smoking. It is taken orally, starting at a dose of 150mg daily, for 7 to 12 weeks.

Chantix (varenicline) is a medication which works in the brain to lower pleasure derived from nicotine and lower nicotine dependence. Varenicline is taken for 12 weeks, and sometimes repeated another 12 weeks after smoking cessation, to solidify results.

Did you know? QuickMD can treat your smoking habit remotely via telemedicine. Our doctors can e.g. prescribe Wellbutrin online.