If you've been a smoker for decades, you might have purchased just about every stop-smoking aid on the market over the years in an attempt to quit your habit but with no lasting success. The physical and psychological addiction to cigarettes can be one of the most difficult ones to escape -- in fact, cigarettes have been found to be equally as addictive as heroin and other "hard" drugs, and even more addictive than alcohol. Fortunately, scientists and engineers have been able to come up with several innovative ways to help smokers to kick the habit for good. Read on to learn more about three methods you may be able to use to finally release nicotine's hold on you.
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, have been around for more than a decade -- but the earliest models tended to be clunky, expensive, and not very satisfying. Today's e-cigs are much sleeker, with a longer battery life than earlier models, and the liquid cartridges that are used to create water vapor come in a wide variety of flavor combinations. Although some e-cig cartridges contain nicotine, "vaping" on these devices is still generally seen as safer than smoking a cigarette, as you're not inhaling smoke, burning paper, or other carcinogens into your lungs -- only nicotine.
As you begin replacing your cigarette consumption with e-cig vaping, you may find that you're able to reduce the amount of nicotine in the cartridges you use, or even begin purchasing nicotine-free cartridges altogether. This will help eliminate the one remaining carcinogen in an e-cig to render it essentially harmless, and can allow you the same freedoms and health benefits as a nonsmoker (including non-smoking health and life insurance rates) while still giving you something to do with your hands.
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While certain types of antidepressants have been used to treat a variety of addictive behaviors over the years, there are now some specific medications targeted to those who are attempting to quit smoking. Researchers have identified certain compounds that can help block the nicotine receptors in your brain, preventing the absorption of nicotine and diminishing the effect that smoking a cigarette has on your mood, thoughts, and actions. After taking this medication for a few weeks, you'll notice cigarettes no longer taste good, and you'll begin to lose the desire to smoke. In some cases, cigarettes may taste bad or even make you feel nauseated while you're on this medication, further supporting your decision to quit smoking.
Because these medications (unlike e-cigarettes) have been approved for use as smoking cessation aids, you'll often be able to have the cost of this medicine fully covered by your health insurance policy. If available, you should also be able to use funds from a Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account to pay for your pills. However, it's likely you'll only be taking these pills on a short-term basis, so even if your health insurance doesn't cover e-cigs, this shouldn't have much of an impact on your wallet.
While hypnotism has been around for centuries, this practice has recently increased in popularity for the treatment of addictions, including hoarding, compulsive behaviors, and smoking. During a hypnotism session, the hypnotist or therapist will place you in a very calm, relaxed, suggestible state. He or she will then run through some of the negative effects smoking has had on your life, as well as the positive changes you'll notice when you quit smoking. You'll have no conscious memory of this process, but when you awake from your hypnotized state, you may feel bored or even disgusted at the thought of smoking a cigarette.