Quit smoking for the New Year

Ask a smoker if they’d like to stop and invariably they’ll say “no!”

But ask that smoker if they wish they’d never started and you’ll get a resounding “yes!”

Most smokers wish they’d never started, but often find it very hard to quit. Withdrawal symptoms include lethargy, irritation and a lack of concentration accompanied by a strong urge to smoke.

However there are treatments available that can help. Did you know that smokers who use nicotine replacement therapy (patches, gum, microtabs) are twice as likely to stop as smokers who use will-power alone? However, not everyone can tolerate patches or use gum and here in Spain, NRT is pretty expensive compared with the UK.

There are other treatments available, namely Zyban and Champix, these are drugs approved for the use of smoking cessation and have been shown to be effective at helping reduce the cravings associated with a quit attempt and thereby improve the chance of success. In Spain Champix can be bought over the counter without a prescription but it is associated with negative side effects such as gastrointestinal problems and sleep disturbance. A number of people find themselves unable to tolerate Champix at all.

But now there is another treatment that is generating interest among the scientific world. From the seeds of the “Golden Rain Tree” (Cytisus Laburnum) there is a product that has been in use for over fifty years in Eastern Europe and during the Second World War Russian soldiers even called it “false tobacco.”

In the West, until recently, this treatment was largely unknown as no proper testing or trials had been done. This plant based product has been recognised as the closest substance to nicotine and is called Cytisine. In the brain it acts just like nicotine and stimulates the release of pleasure chemicals such as dopamine, which means that withdrawal symptoms from nicotine are significantly reduced.

A recent large study, published in the highly respected medical journal, New England Journal of Medicine, has shown some exciting results. Cytisine (taken as a small tablet) in combination with what´s known as behavioural support was compared to nicotine replacement therapy, in this case patches. After a month more smokers had stopped completely on Cytisine compared to patches (40 % versus 31%) and after 6 months and the Cytisine group still showed clear benefit compared to patches. In other studies Cytisine has been shown to double your chances of quitting compared with placebo (dummy tablet).

For best results Cytisine should be taken as part of a behaviour change programme, incorporating education, peer support and behaviour change techniques. So if you want to stop smoking this year, why not take a helping hand from nature?

Contact me by phone on +34 652 281 122 or Email rachelgarrod1@gmail.com if you would like to take the next step.

Stay healthy
Rachel

The contents of the above is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for specific advice or legal advice on a particular matter.  This blog is provided by a third party, [Rachel Garrod], and therefore we accept no liability for the above content or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of any such information.

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