Currently, 70 percent of the 44.5 million adult smokers in the United States say they would like to quit, and about 40 percent make an attempt to quit each year. However, less than 15 percent of those quitters take advantage of therapeutic nicotine, which doubles a smoker's chances of quitting successfully. Following are misperceptions that may be derailing successful quitting and the truths that every reader of your Website [or Blog] should know.

Myth: Once nicotine exits the body, the addiction to smoking is gone.

Truth:

-- While nicotine exits the body within a relatively short time frame (8 to 12 hours), the effects of nicotine in the brain can last for months.

-- Tobacco-delivered nicotine alters the structure and the function of the brain.

-- According to published clinical research, smokers can experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings 6+ weeks after quitting.

-- Quitting smoking can be so difficult that even a heart attack isn't enough to make a smoker stop: studies have found that 60-70 percent of smokers continue to smoke after a coronary event.

Myth: The nicotine in cigarettes is the same as the therapeutic nicotine found in patches, gum and lozenges.

Truth:

-- Although therapeutic nicotine and nicotine in cigarettes are chemically the same, the delivery of therapeutic nicotine is different. Therapeutic nicotine is designed specifically to break the addiction cycle.

-- A cigarette delivers nicotine to the brain in seconds and in high doses that reinforce the need for more. Therapeutic nicotine is designed to provide slower, gradually reduced nicotine levels to reduce withdrawal and cravings during quitting. This helps to train the brain to live first with less and less nicotine, and then eventually with none.

-- Therapeutic nicotine options in the form of gum, patches, and lozenges are extensively proven to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings during quitting, making it easier for people to focus their willpower on behavior change.

-- Sadly, in one recent study of 1,000 adult smokers, 54 percent incorrectly believed the nicotine patch and 53 percent mistakenly believed or did not know whether nicotine gum was more addictive than cigarettes.

Myth: "Cold turkey" is the most effective way to quit smoking, and therapeutic nicotine products don't really work.

Truth:

-- Cold turkey is the most common yet least successful way to quit. Therapeutic nicotine products are first-line smoking-cessation treatment and double the chances of quitting successfully.

-- "Cold turkey" quitting has a 3 percent success rate after six months - 97 percent of attempts fail. In addition, one-third of all cold turkey quit attempts fail within 72 hours.
Therapeutic nicotine products double a smoker's chance of successfully quitting over cold turkey. Use a therapeutic product properly (e.g., using at least 9 pieces of gum or lozenge during the first 6 weeks of quitting; WEAR A PATCH EVERY DAY) so it can work effectively. Recent studies show therapeutic nicotine can safely help even heavy and more dependent smokers to quit.

-- U.S., U.K. and WHO guidelines suggest smokers use medications to quit and therapeutic nicotine is available in various delivery forms with customized nicotine levels.

Myth: Nicotine replacement products increase the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Truth

-- More than 20 years of studies have shown no increased risk of cancer or heart disease among therapeutic nicotine users.

-- More than 110 studies involving more than 35,000 participants have demonstrated the safety of therapeutic nicotine, even in populations with specific health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, lung disease, and existing heart disease.

In addition, while the risk of cancer from smoking is well established, there is no clinical evidence that therapeutic nicotine products create a risk of cancer when used as directed. Therapeutic nicotine is not associated with any increase in the risk of heart attack, stroke or death.

-- Therapeutic nicotine is a safe and effective treatment approach even in people already diagnosed with angina or with history of heart attack.

Myth: It's ok to stop using nicotine replacement therapy before the recommended time in the product label.

Truth

-- A key to successful quitting is using enough therapeutic nicotine and as directed by the label.

-- Quitters need to use enough therapeutic nicotine to ease their withdrawal from nicotine and allow them to focus on changing their behavior.

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