In the U.S., chronic respiratory diseases from smoking are one of the most significant health concerns. According to the CDC, more than 16 million Americans are diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and smoking is a major contributing factor that increases the risk of developing the disease. The health consequences of smoking are well-known, even among smokers, which is primarily why many attempt to kick the habit.

This article takes a look at four distinct smoking cessation options for those who want to quit for good. From nicotine replacement therapies and prescription medications to counseling, understanding how each method works provides a roadmap for those seeking an effective strategy to overcome the challenges of quitting smoking and embracing a healthier lifestyle.

Prescription medications

There are a few quit medications that have been shown to be safe and effective for adults who smoke. This article emphasizes that drug therapy is most beneficial for smokers who are significantly dependent on nicotine. Severe nicotine dependence is characterized by smoking more than one pack per day, smoking within five minutes of waking up, smoking even while sick, waking up at night to smoke, and smoking to ease symptoms of withdrawal. The more of these that apply, the more serious the dependence.

Varenicline, also known as Chantix, is one of the prescription medicines developed specifically for smoking cessation. According to its manufacturers, Varenicline binds to the receptors in your brain where nicotine normally binds. Because of the drug’s presence, nicotine can’t bind to these brain receptors, causing a drop in dopamine that creates nicotine cravings. As a result, it lessens the pleasure one gets from smoking and reduces withdrawal symptoms. Typically, Varenicline is taken a month to a week ahead of your decided quit day.

Nicotine pouches

Nicotine pouches are a popular form of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). NRT aims to reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms that occur when you stop smoking. Used properly, NRT can make a big difference in helping you quit successfully, with some studies suggesting that it increases the rate of quitting by 50 to 70%. Nicotine pouches come in small, discreet pouches that are placed between the lips and gums to deliver nicotine to your system.

Most nicotine pouch brands come in a variety of strengths and flavors. For example, the brand VELO, available on this site, has tobacco-free pouches in flavors like mint, coffee, citrus, and dragon fruit. You can also choose between pouches containing 2 mg, 4 mg, and 7 mg of nicotine so that you can better tailor your NRT use to your smoking cessation efforts. The goal is to gradually lessen the amount of nicotine you need, and eventually wean off of it completely.

Nicotine gum

Another widely-available type of NRT is nicotine gum. When chewed, nicotine gum delivers nicotine to the blood and then to the brain in minutes. Long-term use of more than 14 weeks increases the likelihood of quitting. Nicotine gum such as Nicorette comes in two strengths, 2 mg and 4 mg, and is available only over the counter at most pharmacies. Unlike ordinary gum, nicotine gum is chewed a few times and then “parked” between your cheek and teeth in order for the nicotine to be absorbed in the mouth.

Nicotine gum works similarly to nicotine pouches in that they replace some of the nicotine your body used to get from cigarettes. Chewing nicotine gum can alleviate symptoms of withdrawal, such as cravings, anxiety, and irritation, to help you quit. It’s worth mentioning, however, that in a randomized clinical trial, researchers found that the use of 2 mg nicotine gum among nondaily smokers did not improve cessation rates.


Quitlines have been proven to be an effective, evidence-based tobacco cessation method that helps individuals quit through various means, including counseling, practical information on how to quit, referral to other cessation resources, and mailed self-help materials. They are also free. When you call a quitline, trained counselors can help you develop a personalized quit plan and may also be able to provide you with quit medications for free, if need be.

This study highlights that quitlines are crucial for alleviating cessation-related barriers, especially for people who experience health disparities, and extending access to vital cessation support services. Combining counseling and NRTs such as nicotine pouches can double or triple your chances of success.

Whichever smoking cessation option you choose, the journey to a smoke-free life is unique and personal. This article has illuminated the pathways available, offering insight into the mechanisms behind each option. This diverse array of options therefore allows individuals to reclaim control over their health when and how they want.

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