On Thursday, May 31, 2012, Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention recognizes World No Tobacco Day.

New Jersey -- Quitting smoking is not an easy endeavor. The nicotine found in cigarettes, and all tobacco products, is a powerful drug that, like cocaine and heroin, is highly addictive. According to Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention (IFP), which supports a state-wide Tobacco Treatment Program, the US public Health Service Guideline clinical practice reports that smokers will attempt to quit between five and seven times before they are successful. 

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“There are many resources available to smokers to help them overcome their addiction to nicotine,” explains Tracy Gross, Director, Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention. “Tobacco cessation programs such as ours have been proven to increase a person’s chances of successfully quitting by nearly four times when compared to quitting on their own. Many prescription and over-the-counter therapies can also be beneficial.”

Following are several tobacco cessation therapies that can assist smokers in successfully overcoming their addiction to nicotine.

  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). As described by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), NRT is designed to wean your body off of nicotine by providing controlled amounts of the drug and eliminating exposure to the other harmful chemicals found in cigarettes. It can help curb the withdrawal symptoms that often accompany a nicotine addiction. These include anxiety, increased appetite, irritability, an urge to smoke and/or restlessness. NRT may come in the form of a lozenge, inhaler, gum, skin patch, or nasal spray. They may be prescription or sold over-the-counter.
  • Tobacco Cessation Programs. Although not a pharmacological approach, tobacco quit programs have proven extremely successful in helping people break their addiction to nicotine. Sometimes combined with NRT or medications not containing nicotine, these programs help people identify their smoking triggers, learn techniques to fight cravings, and manage stress. Individual, group or family counseling is often encouraged.
  • Non-Nicotine Products. The FDA has approved two smoking cessation medications that do not contain nicotine - Chantix (varenicline tartrate) and Zyban (buproprion). Both are available only by prescription. 

The IFP urges anyone considering quitting smoking to speak to his/her physician to help identify the quit methods that will work best, and are safest, for him/her.   

If you are ready to quit, or simply thinking about it, the IFP will provide you with the support and tools you need to succeed. In addition to coaching from trained Tobacco Treatment Specialists, the IFP’s Tobacco Quit Program offers a customized quit-smoking plan; ongoing individual, group and/or family counseling; up-to-date information on the latest prescription and non-prescription smoking medications; effective tools to reduce withdrawal symptoms; and weight and stress management strategies.

For more information, please visit www.instituteforprevention.com or call 973-926-7978 (northern NJ) or 732-886-4149 (central and southern NJ).