A wide range of methods exist for quitting smoking. Family members, friends, and work associates may be supportive or encouraging but the desire and commitment to quit must be a personal decision. It may prove helpful to write up a specific list of the reasons why one wants to quit. A 1990 Gallup poll of smokers revealed that two-thirds of smokers state they would like to quit.
Past attempts to quit tobacco use should be viewed as learning experiences, not failures. Information from people who have been able to successfully quit smoking shows that 70% had made one to two previously unsuccessful attempts; 20% had made three to five previously unsuccessful attempts; and 9% had made six or more previously unsuccessful attempts before actually quitting.
Like other addictive behaviors, tobacco use is difficult to stop and maintain, particularly if acting totally alone. The best success in quitting has been noted with smoking cessation programs that may combine various strategies, including education, peer support, behavior recognition, behavior modification methods, recognition of potential relapse situations, and strategies for confronting such situations. Counseling by telephone is as effective as smoking cessation classes. Medications that are nicotine substitutes, such as transdermal nicotine (Nicorette patch) or nicotine gum, may be used temporarily in conjunction with such programs. Short-term use of the antidepressant medication bupropion along with a smoking cessation program has been shown in studies to further increase the success rate. Buproprion requires a prescription from your health provider and should not be used by people with a history of seizures or renal failure.
Programs for quitting smoking have a success rate of about 20% to 40% of participants. In contrast, 2.5% of people who choose to quit smoking spontaneously, without help, achieve success. Once a person has chosen to quit using tobacco products, it may prove beneficial to elicit a broad range of collaborative methods and support persons to enhance optimal success. If success is not reached initially, simply look at what occurred or what didn't work, develop new strategies, and try again. Multiple attempts are frequently necessary to "beat the habit."