Harvard Heart Letter

When quitters are winners

Breaking the addiction to cigarettes is tough, but the payoff is worth it.

For generations, smoking has been thought of as a habit. We now know better. Smoking isn't a habit "" it's an addiction. And though it may be more socially acceptable than using cocaine or heroin, it shackles the body and the mind just as powerfully.

This shift in understanding has practical implications. Kicking a habit takes willpower. Kicking an addiction takes willpower and a whole lot more, like therapies that safely satisfy the craving for nicotine, drugs that block it, and talk treatments that help retrain the brain to do without it.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »