Okay, friend, the fun's over. No more hacking coughs, no more shelling out money to Big Tobacco day after day, no more shortness of breath, and no more social alienation. How do you give all this up? That's what we're here to tell you.


Chemical treatments tend to be the most effective, because they do the most to alleviate the physical addiction to nicotine. Natural treatments tend to alleviate only the psychological addiction (the habit) which is powerful but less disabling and painful. You should always discuss chemical treatments with your doctor before you use them to quit smoking, as they can all have side effects on certain users. Read up on the following products, and if one appeals to you and it's okay with your doctor, strap it on. If they all look too scary, go on to section 2 and look at some alternatives.
  1. Zyban
  2. Nicotine patches
  3. Nicotine gum
  4. Nicotine inhalers & nasal sprays


Zyban is the marketing name for the antidepressant drug bupropion hydrochloride. These are basically happy pills for the ex-smoker, which are intended to lessen or eliminate the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking. To use Zyban, you start taking the pills a week or two before you quit smoking so they have a chance to start working. Then you simply stop smoking and try to feel happy. Zyban is only available by prescription, and it should not be used with any other antidepressant drugs. You must be sure to tell your doctor about any other medications you are using when you ask him or her to prescribe Zyban for you.

If you do talk to your doctor about Zyban, be sure to ask him or her about the potential side effects associated with the drug. We're not saying it's any worse than any other drug, but we're not talking about herbal tea here and it's always best to be informed.

Nicotine Patches

These are the kings of the nicotine replacement game. They are small, self-adhesive patches that you stick on your skin so that nicotine can enter your bloodstream at a steady rate all day. When you smoke or use other nicotine replacement therapies, you get a "spike" of high nicotine level in your blood, which then lowers until you feel the need to take another dose and top up your nicotine levels. The patch just keeps you at a steady level all the time and gets you accustomed to that without expecting to have occasional high levels. Patches come in different strengths, and you go from the strongest one you need to the weakest available, and then stop using them altogether.

The advantages of nicotine patches are that they provide you with a steady supply of nicotine without your having to think about it; they work in any situation (although you can't wear them in swimming pools or while bathing, but most of us don't feel particularly tempted to smoke then, anyway); and they provide a strong deterrent to smoking because if you smoke while you are wearing one or for hours after taking one off, you could suffer symptoms of nicotine overdose, such as death.

The disadvantages of nicotine patches are that they are relatively expensive; they can irritate the skin on which they are placed; they cause you to have weird dreams and not sleep very well if you wear them after you go to bed; if you don't wear them after you go to bed it can be a bit rough in the morning before you get a patch on and it starts working; and, if you are dumb and you smoke while you are wearing a patch or shortly after removing one, you could suffer symptoms of nicotine overdose, such as death.

Nicotine Gum

Nicotine gum helps you quit by providing you with a source of nicotine apart from smoking. It comes in different strengths (usually 4mg or 2mg of nicotine per piece), which you choose from based on how much you smoke. Nicotine gum, like any nicotine replacement therapy, allows you to deal with the physical component of addiction over a longer period of time with less drastic withdrawal symptoms.

The advantages of nicotine gum are that you can take it when you need it (so long as you don't exceed the amount suggested by the directions), so that you can cut down on your nicotine as quickly or as slowly as you want; it is relatively inexpensive; and it provides some oral gratification of its own to replace the cigarettes.

The disadvantages are that you can't chew it while drinking soda or alcoholic beverages, so it's no good to you in a bar; it can make you feel sick if you chew it too fast; and it takes a long time for it to work, so if you wait for too long between pieces you can become extremely irritable while waiting for the piece you're chewing to affect you.

Nictotine Inhalers and Nasal Sprays

These work on much the same principle as the gum, but they are different in design. Nicotine inhalers are shaped like little cigarettes, and when you suck on them they release a mist of nicotine stuff into your lungs. The nasal spray is like the product you use for nasal congestion; you just pump it into your nostril and it sprays nicotine stuff up there.

The advantages of these are that they work much more quickly than the gum; they can be used in any situation and whenever they are needed (within the constraints set by the package directions); and the inhaler is very much like a cigarette, so it makes a good replacement.

The disadvantages are that they can have many side effects like burning of the nasal tissues or throat, stomach ache, nausea, etc.; they are more expensive than the gum; and, finally, the inhaler might be too good of a replacement, as it's quite a bit like continuing to smoke.