Smoking cessation is the effort to stop smoking tobacco products. With nicotine as addictive substance, many people find it hard to stop smoking without help. Various approaches are available, both psychological and pharmacological, although success rates are relatively low.

The prevalent view is that smoking is not safe for anybody, and that every smoker should be encouraged to stop. See benefits of quitting.

Many of tobacco's health effects can be minimised through smoking cessation. The "British doctors study" [1] showed that those who stopped smoking before they reached 30 years of age lived almost as long as those who never smoked. It is also possible to help reduce the risks by reducing the frequency of smoking and by proper diet and exercise. Some research has indicated that some of the damage caused by smoking tobacco can be moderated with the use of antioxidants.

Predictive measures of success are a serious commitment to smoking cessation and regular follow-up. After succesfully stopping tobacco smoking, quitters are advised to consider ways they should change their lifestyle to improve their chances of not restarting, especially under stressful circumstances.

Smokers wanting to quit (or temporarily abstain from) smoking can use a variety of nicotine-containing tobacco subsitutes to temporarily lessen the physical withdrawal symptoms, the most popular being nicotine gum and lozenges. Nicotine patches are also used for smoking cessation. Discussing the problem with supportive people can also be helpful. In addition, there are lots of self-help books on the market.


See also screening and cutting down


No smoking cessation methods have consistently achieved better than a 25% quit rate after six months. About 1.5%–3% of smokers manage to quit each year without support from health services. Enrollment into the placebo arm of medical trial and receiving a minimum level of counselling increases this rate to about 5%–10% after one year, partly reflecting participants' motivation.

Although a significant proportion is successful, many fail several times. A small proportion is unable to quit, even in the face of serious smoking-related disease in themselves or close family members or friends. Nevertheless, incorrigable smokers are encouraged to keep on trying.

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