Harvard Men's Health Watch

On call: What stop smoking aid works best?

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Q. Do any of the smoking cessation aids, like gum or patches, work better than the others?

A. No single stop-smoking tool is proven to be the best, but they all work better than just going "cold turkey." It also helps to combine them. For example, a form of counseling called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)—combined with nicotine-replacement patches or prescription drugs—has helped many people to quit. Meditation may help reduce stress from nicotine cravings.

Many people start with nicotine replacement aids, such as patches, inhalers, lozenges, and gum. Using them consistently doubles your success rate. You can also combine different types—for example, using the long-acting patch along with a short-acting lozenge or gum as needed. Of nicotine replacement therapies, e-cigarettes are the least well studied for both efficacy and safety.

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