Want to Quit Using Tobacco?
There are many different methods advertised to help people quit tobacco. Any of these methods may be effective
if a high degree of personal motivation is already present. There is no "magic method" to make
you quit, but there
are methods to help you once you have made the decision. Following is a review of some common tobacco
cessation methods, so that you can choose the approach that’s right for you. Keep in mind that a combination
approach is usually most effective – and if one combination doesn’t meet your needs, try another. Tobacco Cessation
Group Clinics: Any number of sessions led by a trained facilitator usually lasting several weeks. Subjects
covered may include behavior modification, breaking habits, stress management, avoiding weight gain and
avoiding relapse. This approach, especially in combination with the use of nicotine replacement
therapy and /or Zyban has the highest reported quit rate.
Networking/Support Groups: Many individuals find networking groups in which tobacco users and ex-users provide additional support and encouragement to each other (i.e. buddy system) to be extremely effective in overcoming barriers to quitting.
Self-Help Materials: Self-help materials range from self-programmed workbooks to computer-based programs to home video and workbook combinations. They usually address the same topics as group clinics. The success rate appears to be lower than group clinics but can be effective for some individuals. Contact the Health Services Expertise Center at (989) 636-6862 to order a copy of a self-directed tobacco cessation resource.
Individual Phone Consultations: Experienced, confidential professionals help you through the quitting process. This type of program gives you the benefit of a personal counselor while maintaining the flexibility of a busy schedule. Some programs combine behavior modification materials with nicotine replacement and/or Zyban.
Alternative Therapies: Several therapies such as hypnosis and acupuncture are touted to help people quit by strengthening already high levels of motivation and effort. At this time, the scientific literature does not support these types of therapies for long-term tobacco cessation.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy: Nicotine replacement therapies may help people quit by allowing an individual to gradually withdraw from nicotine. For maximum effectiveness, this program should be used in combination with behavior modification strategies. Individuals should consult with their health care provider prior to selecting this method.
Cold Turkey versus Gradual Reduction: Studies indicate nicotine withdrawal symptoms subside much more quickly in people who quit cold turkey. Gradual reduction to prepare for a quit date may be useful. There are also much higher relapse rates with cold turkey (if no other program or therapy is used in conjunction).
Zyban: Alone or used in combination with nicotine replacement therapy and/or supportive programs, this prescription drug is showing more recent success and has also been approved for smokeless tobacco users. Studies on long-term (12 mo. or longer) success rates are not yet available.
Chantix: In combination with GetQuit or other support plan has shown greater cessation results than Zyban.
recommended to be used with nicotine replacement therapy and has not yet been studied or
approved for smokeless users.
Tobacco Cessation Effectiveness
The most meaningful success measure for any tobacco cessation plan is the 12-month quit rate. A typical one-
year abstinence rate is 20-25%. A few multi-component programs report rates close to 50% although
substantiation for such high rates is rare.
Tobacco Cessation Plan Cost
Cost is not usually a good indicator of plan quality. Some of the best plans are available through non-profit
groups such as the American Lung Association and the Cancer Society. These plans are available in most
communities and charge a modest fee. They can take the format of group clinics, self-help plans, and
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