Every October, the NHS in the UK help smokers to give up the habit with the Stoptober initiative. Stoptober has recommended everything from cold turkey and meditation, to patches, pills or even ecigarettes.
Here at 88Vape, we’ve done some reading and researching to try and find the least painful and least expensive way to stop smoking this Stoptober. Is cold turkey really the best way to stop? Or should you reach for a vape kit?
The traditional way to quit. You just… quit. The last cigarettes in the packet are torn up, run under a tap and buried in the bin. Then you don’t buy any more. You just tough out the cravings, and after a few miserable weeks, you’re craving free.
Costs: None. Zip. Nada. Cold turkey costs nothing. In theory. In practice, people who quit cold turkey end up spending money on anything to take their mind off the cravings.
Side Effects: Irritability is the main one here. Nicotine cravings make some people twitchy, others furious. Nicotine is highly addictive, and stopping dead is a challenging experience.
Effectiveness: Between 10% and 25% of people who go cold turkey quit entirely. The other 75% just can’t handle the cravings.
Chewing gum, laced with nicotine. You feel a craving, so you chew. It doesn’t taste great, and the nicotine you swallow can be unpleasant, but many people find having something to relieve the worst cravings is less difficult than quitting cold turkey.
Costs: A certain supermarket sells nicotine gum for as little as £5 per pack. But if you’re chomping through a pack a day, it’s going to set you back over £150 in Stoptober. That’s as much as smoking!
Side Effects: Hiccups, heartburn and nausea are common with nicotine gum. Like we said, it can be unpleasant.
Effectiveness: 11.3% of gum-chewers quit. That’s marginally higher than the lowest estimate for cold turkey.
Think a sticking plaster drenched in nicotine, giving you a slowly-released dose of the drug over a 24-hour period. Patches aren’t like gum, which you take to react to a craving. They’re supposed to reduce overall cravings while you wear them.
Costs: Through a high street supermarket, you’re looking at a £56 outlay for a month’s worth of patches.
Side Effects: About 15% of patch-wearers have to stop because the patches irritate their skin.
Effectiveness: Good news! 19.4% of patch users quit! That’s lower than the highest reported figure for going cold turkey. You’re more likely to stop smoking than have an allergic reaction to the patch though, so that’s something.
Champix is a Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) medicine that is designed to reduce your nicotine cravings. You start your course two weeks before you quit, and then stop smoking altogether. For ten weeks, Champix will help to take the edge off your cravings – but some people report worrying side effects.
Costs: Depends on who you are. On prescription, Champix can be free, or less than £10 for a 12 week course.
Side Effects: Nausea, insomnia, vivid dreams, constipation, dizziness. For some people, Champix is a thoroughly miserable experience!
Effectiveness: Studies show that Champix and other NRT drugs are slightly more effective than going cold turkey. Is that slight increase worth the side-effects?
Swapping a tobacco cigarette for an egicarette is the Stoptober quitting method of choice for many ex-smokers. Eliquids, or juices, are available in a range of strengths, with many former smokers gradually moving from a high strength (12mg+) liquid to a nicotine-free one in a matter of months.
Side Effects: You’re not actually quitting nicotine. Until you taper down to a nicotine-free eliquid, you’ve just switched from smoking to vaping.
Effectiveness: According to the NHS, half of the UK’s vapers have stopped smoking entirely. That’s the most effective smoking cessation aid on this list, more than twice as effective as cold turkey.
Let’s be clear. In terms of side-effects, costs and (potential efficiency), if you have the willpower to stop cold turkey you should stop cold turkey.
But the sad truth is that most of us don’t. The best-case scenario is that three quarters of us just won’t be able to stop cold turkey. Worst case is that nine out of every ten smokers won’t be able to do it.
So if you’re serious about quitting this Stoptober, consider a vape kit and some low nicotine eliquids. It’s not the perfect solution to your cigarette addiction, but it looks like it’s going to help you quit far easier than the alternatives will.
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