How Nicotine Addiction Works
So you’ve learned a few things about Re-learning Habit. And you’ve made it through the first part of re-learning life without cigarettes — how to deal with all of the habits you connect with lighting up. But smoking is more than just a series of “bad habits." It's a physical addiction.
So let’s talk about re-learning what you know about addiction. Few people realize how the nicotine in cigarettes actually changes their brain. Dr. Richard Hurt from Mayo Clinic’s Nicotine Dependence Center is a leading expert in the field of smoking cessation. In the videos below, Dr. Hurt explains the physical nature of addiction to cigarettes and just how powerful it can be. He’ll also tell you how medication can DOUBLE your chances of quitting smoking and help you pick the right one for you. Lots of people say they don’t want to use medication to quit smoking, because they think it’s something they should do on their own with just their willpower. Or they’ve tried a medication before and don’t think it worked. If you’re one of those people, all we can say is trust us on this. Just hear what Dr. Hurt has to say and then make up your mind.
When choosing which medication to use, your past experience may be helpful. If you had good success with a particular product during a past attempt to stop smoking, it makes a lot of sense to seriously consider that medication again. It's also perfectly okay to use more than one medication at a time. Many people find that using a combination of these medications such as the nicotine patch and nicotine lozenge is more effective than using just one. Remember there's no one way that works for everyone. When you start to use a medication be sure to talk to your health care provider to make sure you're using it correctly or at the very least be sure to read all of the instructions included in the package. Many people use these medications incorrectly and then assume that the medication didn't work. If you start using one kind of medication and find you're not getting the desired effect, talk to your health care provider to make sure you're using it correctly. If it's still not working, you may have to switch to a different one. You may find that particular medication just isn't right for you. Your health care provider or your pharmacist can help you decide.
Addiction to cigarettes is powerful. Stopping smoking is hard, because your own brain is working against your efforts to quit. In this section, you'll learn just how powerful addiction to cigarettes can be. And in later sections, you'll learn ways to help you beat it.
Video: Choosing the Medication Right for You
We don’t care which quit smoking medication you choose, just that you actually consider using one. They’re an important part of the EX quit smoking plan. Remember, these medications have been shown to DOUBLE your chances of stopping smoking. In this section, Dr. Hurt introduces the variety of medications out there and discusses how it’s okay to use more than just one. Ask some of the members in the EX Community what medications they’re using. Click here for a downloadable one-pager of all the possible stop smoking medications. Take it with you when you visit with your doctor.
And if you’re pregnant and trying to quit smoking, it’s okay to use a quit smoking medication. Just be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any new medication.
*Food & Drug Administration Warning
The Food & Drug Administration has warned that both bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix) have been associated with serious adverse effects, including hostility, agitation, depressed mood, and suicidal thoughts or actions. The risks that are known to be associated with smoking must be balanced against the small, but real risk of these serious adverse effects. People who are taking either bupropion or varenicline and experience any serious and unusual changes in mood or behavior or who feel like hurting themselves or someone else should stop taking the medicine and call their healthcare professional right away. Bupropion, varenicline and nicotine replacement medications are also not recommended for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding without consulting their doctor. Ask your doctor if one of these medications is right for you. As always, read and follow label directions. Also keep in mind that new medications are being developed all the time to help people stop smoking. Ask your doctor if anything new is available.
Can't see the video? Don't stress! Dr. Hurt videos are available to view on the desktop site.