Other methods of quitting
Other tools may help some people, but there’s no strong proof that they can improve your chances of quitting.
Methods without nicotine
Hypnosis methods vary a great deal, which makes it hard to study as a way to stop smoking. For the most part, reviews that looked at controlled studies of hypnosis to help people quit smoking have not supported it as a quitting method that works. Still, some people find it useful. If you would like to try it, ask your doctor if he or she can recommend a good hypnotherapist.
Filters that reduce tar and nicotine in cigarettes do not work. In fact, studies have shown that smokers who use filters tend to smoke more.
Other methods have been used to help stop smoking, such as over-the-counter products that change the taste of tobacco, stop-smoking diets that curb nicotine cravings, and combinations of vitamins. At this time there’s little scientific evidence that any of these work.
Tobacco lozenges and pouches
Lozenges that contain tobacco and small pouches of tobacco that you hold in your mouth are being sold as other ways for smokers to get nicotine in places where smoking is not allowed. The FDA has ruled that these are types of oral tobacco products much like snuff and chew, and are not smoking cessation aids. There’s no evidence that these products can help a person quit smoking. Unlike scientifically proven treatments with known effects, such as nicotine replacement products, anti-depressants, nicotine receptor blockers, or behavioral therapy, these tobacco products have never been tested to see if they can help people quit tobacco.
We know that oral tobacco products such as snuff and chewing tobacco contain human carcinogens. These products cause mouth cancer and gum disease. They also destroy the bone sockets around teeth and can cause teeth to fall out. There are studies showing potential harmful effects on the heart and circulation, as well as increased risks of other cancers. They also cause bad breath and stain the teeth. They are not safe alternatives to cigarettes, nor do they help people quit tobacco.
In 2004, a Chinese company started making a refillable “cigarette” with a battery and an electronic chip in it. It’s designed to look like a cigarette, right down to the glowing tip. When the smoker puffs on it, the system delivers a mist of liquid, flavorings, and nicotine that looks something like smoke. The smoker inhales it like cigarette smoke, and the nicotine is absorbed into the lungs.
The electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, is sold with cartridges of nicotine and flavorings. Several brands and varieties of the e-cigarette are now sold in the United States. The e-cigarette is usually sold as a way for a smoker to get nicotine in places where smoking is not allowed, but some have sold it as a way to quit smoking. The cartridges are sold as having different doses of nicotine, from high doses to no nicotine at all.
There are questions about how safe it is to inhale some substances in the e-cigarette vapor into the lungs. The ingredients in e-cigarettes are not labeled, so the user doesn’t know what’s in them. The amounts of nicotine and other substances a person gets from each cartridge are also unclear. The manufacturers say that the ingredients are safe, but it’s not clear if they are safe to inhale — many substances that are safe to eat can harm delicate tissues inside the lungs.
Information from studies suggests that e-cigarettes are not always safe. A 2009 analysis of 18 samples of cartridges from 2 leading e-cigarette brands found cancer-causing substances in half the samples. There were other impurities noted as well. For example, diethylene glycol, a toxic ingredient found in antifreeze, was found in one sample.
Information from the same testing suggests that there may be manufacturing problems with some brands of e-cigarettes. Nicotine levels from each puff varied a great deal, even between cartridges labeled as having the same nicotine amounts. Testing also found small amounts of nicotine in most of the cartridges labeled nicotine-free.
Like other forms of nicotine, the e-cigarettes and nicotine cartridges can be toxic to children or pets. They can also pose a choking hazard.