Welcome to Healthcare Magic!
I appreciate your wish to quit smoking before the damage is visible. Well done! It takes years for the ill effects of smoking
to manifest but the benefits of quitting start within hours of quitting.
There are three main strategies you can use to quit.
1) There are medicines available which reduce the craving for nicotine
and make it easier to quit. These are started before quitting and after these become effective, a quit-date is set. On the pre-appointed date, you quit. Because of the medicine's effect, it is easier to remain abstinent. After you have been abstinent for a few months, the medicines are stopped. The two medicines that are commonly used are bupropion
. Bupropion is cheaper than varenicline. Varenicline is somewhat more effective.
2) You can opt to stop smoking and use other forms of nicotine replacement when you are unable to control the craving. Nicotine containing chewing gums (Nicotex, Nicorette
etc) are available for this purpose. After a few days, you can reduce the number of chewing gums that you are taking per day and gradually taper it off. These save you from the harmful effects of smoke, but are still not harmless as they contain nicotine.
3) You can also try gradually reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke daily. Also try to reduce the number of puffs you take from each cigarette and throw away after just one or two puffs. Gradually your body will get used to the lower dosage of nicotine and you will be able to taper it off with only mild withdrawal symptoms
Some people prefer to stop smoking abruptly and face the withdrawal symptoms that usually last for a few days. But it takes a lot of motivation and will power.
Let me know which option you would like to take up so that I can give you greater details.
Dr Preeti Parakh