By Assia Mortensen
If you are trying to quit smoking, you’re more likely to succeed with a set plan and some help. “Only 5% of people who try to quit on their own will be non-smokers a year later,” said Keith Heinzerling MD, Assistant Research Physician at the UCLA Department of Family Medicine.
The number goes up to around 10% if you use nicotine replacement, (available as gum and lozenge over the counter). However success rates jump to around 30% with nicotine replacement and Bupropion or “Zyban,” which is an antidepressant that also helps people quit smoking, says Dr. Heinzerling.
One study reported by “Medical News Today” states that moderate exercise, such as taking a quick walk around the block, can significantly reduce cravings for nicotine. Nearly anything that works as a distraction can be beneficial, according to researchers. However, exercise may have the added benefit of releasing the mood-enhancing drug dopamine. This, the researchers theorize, can reduce withdrawal symptoms even further.
Heinzerling offers the following quitting tip: “Get some support to help you through it and never give up. It’s important to have a friend, or several, someone you can rely on…for some cheerleading and to keep you honest.”
In addition, try oral substitutes like carrot sticks, lollipops or gum. Eliminate triggers, such as ashtrays and lighters, from your home. Deep breathing and progressive relaxation exercises can also be helpful. Lastly, “most people who quit smoking have tried unsuccessfully several times before — so keep trying, and try different things — what’s good for one person isn’t always right for another,” says Heinzerling.
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Nordqvist, C. Medical News Today. Exercise Helps You Quit Smoking More Successfully. Available at http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/55107.php. Accessed on May 7, 2012.