As we always see on cigarette packs, “Cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health.” This is a notice that is commonly disregarded by smokers. Without even reading this notice, they just tear open the cigarette pack, grab a stick, and light it as if they don’t want to see the glaring truth in front of it. Unfortunately, the warning stated on this package is very true. Cigarette smoking is one of the leading causes of death. As a matter of fact, 440,000 people in the United States die each year because of illnesses caused by this bad habit.
Fortunately, a lot of people have become aware of what smoking can do to their health and have made attempts to quit. Unfortunately, because of a substance called nicotine that is found in cigarettes, many people find it difficult to resist their cravings for the “high” that this substance can give. The good news is that there are now aids for smokers who want to quit. They can try chewing a nicotine gum or putting on a nicotine patch. These are two of the types of nicotine replacement therapy wherein the craving for the pleasurable feelings is quenched by the content of these gums and patches, taking away the need for a stick of cigarette. But, since this method is not always effective, a new option has been added: the stop smoking pill.
A New Use for an Anti-depressant
Zyban is a stop smoking pill that causes a sustained release of bupropion hydrochloride, the same substance found in the anti-depressant, Wellbutrin SR. This stop smoking pill boosts the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the body, giving the user the same pleasurable feeling that is induced by the nicotine found in tobacco. These pills should be taken a week before a smoker starts to quit smoking in order to combat the withdrawal symptoms that usually haunt quitters.
Although Zyban is more effective than other anti-depressants in this aspect, it has some side effects that doctors should warn their patients about before prescribing this solution. It has been proven to cause depression in users and can increase suicidal tendencies.
The New Stop Smoking Pill
Another stop smoking pill was approved by the FDA last May. Varenicline was proven to help more than one out of five smokers to stop smoking after using it for a year. This pill works by inhibiting the feelings of pleasure that smokers feel when they light up a cigarette. This stops them from associating the wonderful feeling with a stick of cigarette that they usually crave for when they are under stress, cutting off their dependency to it.
Now available under the name of Chantix, this drug should be taken twice a day for a minimum of twelve weeks in order to stop a person from lighting up a cigarette. A side effect of this stop smoking pill is said to be nausea and vomiting.
Because of the side effects that can be caused by these two stop smoking pills, they are usually considered as a last resort for people who would like to quit smoking. And for those who plan to use Zyban to quit smoking, perhaps it should be coupled with exercise in order to decrease the dependency on that medication. Exercise, after all, can hasten the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine in the body, giving a person the same high feeling that these pills can provide.