How To: Quit smoking

When you’re spending long hours on the road or waiting at a dock, boredom sets in. If the antidote is smoking, it often forms a habit that’s hard to break. But there’s hope out there, even when you’re away from home, to help you kick butt.

If these methods seem too troublesome or expensive, consider this: Only 5 percent of quitters with no program remain smoke-free after a year.

Nicotine replacement:

OVER-THE-COUNTER. Products are found more readily at pharmacies than at truck stops. Patches such as NicodermCQ require only daily application, while gums and lozenges involve more frequent use. Depending on quantity and brand, these options range from $30 to $70 per package.

PRESCRIPTION. Zyban, a new pill adapted from the anti-depressant Welbutrin, helps with state of mind for smokers struggling with quitting. Doctors also can prescribe a nicotine inhaler, which works like the patch in that it gradually reduces nicotine in the smoker’s system until the body no longer craves it.

Nontraditional methods:

ELECTROSHOCK THERAPY. A self-administered, mild shock from an ordinary 9-volt battery as you smoke is a type of aversion therapy. Treatment centers that offer this claim a 95 percent initial success rate, and 50 percent after a year.

HYPNOSIS. A hypnotist puts you into an altered state in which you are susceptible to suggestion, then tries to convince you to quit smoking. The success rate is hard to measure, says the American Cancer Society.

Counseling and support:

HOT LINES. The National Cancer Institute, (877) 448-7848, has toll-free phone lines staffed 24/7 by trained counselors. A free hotline, (800) QUIT-NOW, forwards calls to the caller’s state tobacco cessation program. Personnel can provide counseling or information on local programs.

SUPPORT GROUPS. Both online and in-person support groups like Quitnet.com and Nicotine Anonymous (www.nicotine-anonymous.org) can help quitters who need encouragement.

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