Quitting Smoking Cold Turkey

Quitting smoking cold turkey means to stop all at once without the help of medications like nicotine gum, patches or e-cigarettes. Cold turkey also means that you don’t reduce your smoking beforehand. For a pack a day smoker, that’s like going from 20
cigarettes to 0 in one day. Quitting cold turkey may be the oldest method of quitting around, but does it really work?

Does Quitting Smoking Cold Turkey Work?

Quitting smoking cold turkey
Quitting Smoking Cold Turkey – It’s Doable!

Although it is not recommended by many government health agencies, many smokers have been able to kick their smoking habit by quitting cold turkey. Nicotine withdrawal is very powerful and takes an enormous amount of will power to counteract. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) like nicotine gum reduces the symptoms associated with withdrawal and has been shown to increase the chances of success by up to 70% based on a 2012 Cochrane review [1].

That’s not to say quitting smoking cold turkey doesn’t work, but medications do increase your chance of success. If you do chose to quit cold turkey, it’s important to be mentally prepared to deal with the symptoms of withdrawal. Select a quit date and stick with it, tell others about your plans, and know that the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are temporary and will pass with time! The more prepared you are beforehand the better your chances of quitting.

Alternatives to Cold Turkey – Gradual Reduction

Gradual reduction (also called the cut down to quit method) is an alternative to cold turkey. This involves reducing the number of cigarettes smoked prior to quitting. Some smokers cut their cigarettes all the way down to 0 or to a lower level of 3 to 4 a day before fully quitting. While cutting back, smokers can also use medication or e-cigarettes to support their attempt. Research shows that there is no difference between quitting cold turkey or gradual reduction [2]. We recommend using an app like Quitbit or our smart cigarette lighter to support your gradual reduction so you can stay on pace to quit!

Everyone’s path to quitting is going to be different. As always, we recommend smokers to choose the method that they feel would work best for them. If cold turkey didn’t work last time, this time try cutting back a few and taking some Nicorette gum or puffs of an e-cig while doing so. There is no magic bullet, so stay strong!

Sources:

  1. Stead LF, Perera R, Bullen C, Mant D, Hartmann-Boyce J, Cahill K, Lancaster T. Nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD000146. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000146.pub4.
  2. Lindson-Hawley N, Aveyard P, Hughes JR. Reduction versus abrupt cessation in smokers who want to quit. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD008033. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008033.pub3.

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Acupuncture To Quit Smoking – Does it work?

Smoking is a multifaceted and strong addiction. Quitting is tough. Many smokers try a number of different tactics to quit smoking. One of those tactics is acupuncture to quit smoking. Below we’ll cover if acupuncture can really help you quit smoking.

Acupuncture To QUit Smoking
Can Acupuncture Help You Quit Smoking?

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a centuries old Chinese medicine, which is based on the thought that energy, called chi, flows through the body along certain paths [1]. When the chi is blocked, an imbalance or illness occurs in the body. Acupuncture is a way to correct the chi by putting small needles into your body along certain landmarks that have a high impact on the flow of chi. Even before you ask, Acupuncture does not hurt! The sensation ranges from small pricks to a tingling feeling depending on how deep the needles are placed.

Acupuncture To Quit Smoking

Ok that sounds great, but how does Acupuncture help smokers quit? Acupuncture treatment tries to focus on reducing the cravings, altering the taste of cigarettes, lessening irritability, as well as, increasing overall wellbeing and relaxation. There is also a specific “Quit Smoking” acupuncture point on the body called “Tim Mee”. This point is on the inside of the arm at the wrist crease. This specific point is thought to change the taste of the cigarettes.

In general, the acupuncture practitioner will take into account all your symptoms and design a therapy that takes into account your specific needs.

Does Acupuncture Help You Quit Smoking?

In early 2014, the Cochrane study was published that sought to review all previous studies done on acupuncture and smoking cessation. The study reviewed 38 separate studies in its analysis. Although the study suggested possible short-term effects, there is no consistent, bias-free evidence that acupuncture or acupressure have a sustained effect on smoking cessation for six months or more [2]. However, the study notes that lack of strong evidence suggests that no strong conclusion can be drawn. It concludes by suggesting that more studies into acupuncture should be done.

What’s our take? If you’re thinking about quitting smoking for the first few times stick to proven methods like group support, talking to a free quit counselor, and nicotine replacement therapy. If you’ve already tried a bunch of times and are looking for something new, trying to quit is better than doing nothing, so give acupuncture a shot. You can even use the Quitbit Smart Lighter to track your progress through your different attempts to find out what works best for you!

Sources:

  1. WebMD Acupuncture Overview
  2. White AR, Rampes H, Liu JP, Stead LF, Campbell J. Acupuncture and related interventions for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD000009. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000009.pub4.

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Can Quitting Smoking Affect Periods?

Throughout the Internet and even in Quitbit’s own community, we’ve heard the same question time and time again: can quitting Quitting Smoking And Periodssmoking affect periods? Although not a lot of hard science has looked into this question, in this post we’ll cover if quitting smoking can change women’s menstrual cycles.

Smoking And Female Hormones

It’s no surprise that smoking is fairly bad for the human body and affects a whole range of different bodily functions. It turns out that smoking actually changes the hormonal levels that are responsible for periods as well. Studies have shown that in pre-menopausal women, smokers have elevated levels of estrogen, progesterone and various androgens [1]. Shockingly, smoking has even been suggested to increase testosterone production in women, which may lead to greater fat accumulation around the hip and waist [2].

Smoking And Periods

Although very little research has been done around how smoking affects the menstrual cycle, we can take an educated guess based on its effect on hormones involved. Picking up in the middle of the menstrual cycle, an increase in estrogen levels triggers a sharp rise in Luteinizing Hormone from the pituitary gland, causing release of the egg from the follicle. The ruptured follicle now secretes progesterone and estrogen. If the egg is not fertilized, then hormone levels drop and the period begins.

These same hormones are affected by smoking. Estrogen and progesterone are closely linked to start and end female menstrual cycle so changing their levels will affect the period as well. It’s our judgment that quitting smoking will change your hormonal balance and may very well affect your periods. Some people may have shorter, longer, earlier or later periods. Many women have discussed the change in periods after quitting smoking on message boards across the Internet as well [3]. So rest assured if your period is a little bit different when you quit smoking.

And as always, if you’re concerned you should contact your doctor and schedule a visit, as this blog is no substitute for medical advice :).­­

Sources:

  1. Windham GC, Mitchell P, Anderson M, Lasley BL. Cigarette Smoking and Effects on Hormone Function in Premenopausal Women. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2005;113(10):1285-1290. doi:10.1289/ehp.7899. 
  2. Pölkki M, Rantala MJ. SMOKING AFFECTS WOMENS’ SEX HORMONE–REGULATED BODY FORM. American Journal of Public Health. 2009;99(8):1350. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2009.163485.
  3. http://community.becomeanex.org/pg/blog/read/1930757/women-periods-changing-after-quitting-smoking?roffset=3

 

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Stop Smoking Shot – 2016 Update

There was once great promise for a Quit Smoking Vaccine hitting the market. The nicotine vaccine, called NicVAX was being developed by Nabi Biopharmaceuticals. The hope was to “cure” a person

Stop Smoking Shot Quitbit
Stop Smoking Shot

from nicotine addiction. Not much has been heard about the Stop Smoking Shot over the last few years, so we’re going to provide an update on what’s been going on in the world of Nicotine Vaccines.

What is it the Stop Smoking Shot?

NicVax was a vaccine that was injected at different intervals, usually 4-20 weeks, into the arms of smokers who were trying to quit. NicVAX was designed to help the human body produce antibodies that bind to the nicotine in the bloodstream and prevent/slow it’s entry to the brain. The idea was to prevent the pleasurable feeling of nicotine and stop the positive feedback loop associated with smoking cigarettes. In theory it was supposed to make smoking no longer feel good and make quitting much easier.

What happened to it?

 In 2005 Nabi Pharmaceutical ran some promising Phase II clinical trials showing that 26% of smokers who responded highly to the vaccine were able to quit and stay quit for at least 30 days [1].

Piggybacking on the good results Nabi ran two Phase III trials back to back in 2009 and 2010. Unfortunately, by 2011 Nabi announced that both of the phase III clinical trials had failed to be any better than placebo [2]. The results crushed the stock price of Nabi and effectively killed the NicVAX project. Needless to say Nabi Pharmaceutical no longer exists.

What does the future hold for Nicotine Vaccines?

Although Nabi has given up the project, a new company Selecta Biosciences has picked up the project. Selecta is using a slightly different technique by using Synthetic Vaccine Particles. At the moment, Selecta has not started clinical trials yet. They plan to begin animal testing early in 2016.

The bottom line is that although once promising, we’re at least 5+ years away from a stop smoking shot hitting the market. And that’s assuming everything goes well! Our thought is don’t hold your breath, get a head start on quitting. Try Quitbit, NRTs, or even going cold turkey!

Sources:

  1. Nabi Biopharmaceuticals Announces Positive Results of Phase IIb Trial of NicVAX
  2. Nabi Biopharmaceuticals Announces Results of First NicVAX(R) Phase III Clinical Trial

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Weight Gain After Quitting Smoking

Weight Gain After Quitting Smoking
Not everyone gains weight after they quit!

Many people are scared of the weight gain that comes with quitting smoking. Not every smoker who quits gains wait, though those that do gain an average of 10 pounds[1]. Don’t be discouraged! Those 10 pounds are just an average, and you don’t have to become part of that statistic. We’re going to go over some tips to help you avoid weight gain after quitting smoking.

Why Do You Gain Weight after Quitting?

Gaining weight after quitting comes from a few factors.

  • Smoking acts as an appetite suppressant – Simply when you quit, you get the urge to eat more food. Increased calorie intake = increased weight gain.
  • Lacking oral stimulus – Since a lot of smokers are used to the oral fixation of smoking, they feel the urge to replace it with eating food after they quit.
  • Decrease in Metabolism – Nicotine increases the body’s rate of metabolism and heart rate. When you quit, your metabolism decreases and you burn less calories.

Tips to Avoid Weight Gain after Quitting

Try some of these tips to keep those pounds off as you quit smoking.

  • Cardio Exercise – After you quit, you’ll be able to breathe better and perform cardiovascular exercise! Try running, biking, or hitting your favorite cardio machine at the gym. The exercise will help keep weight off, keep you busy, make you feel better, and stop you from constantly thinking about smoking. It’s probably the best thing you can do for yourself as you’re quitting.
  • Strength Training Exercise – Similar to cardiovascular exercise, weight training exercise, like bicep curls, builds muscles and increases your metabolism to help keep the pounds off.
  • Keep your mouth busy with healthy treats – Instead of appeasing your oral gratification with junk food, snack on celery, almonds, or sugar free gum.
  • Brush your teeth often – Brushing your teeth will keep your mouth busy and may offset some of the oral fixation that was once associated with smoking.
  • Be mindful of your eating – Next time you want to reach for a snack, remember if you are really hungry. You may just be eating out of habit, boredom, or to keep your mouth busy.

Follow the tips you’ll be well on your way to a new healthy (and low weight) lifestyle! And remember, even if you gain a little bit of weight, that extra weight is still WAY healthier than smoking.

 

Sources:

[1] Audrain-McGovern, J. and Benowitz, N. (2011), Cigarette Smoking, Nicotine, and Body Weight. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 90: 164–168. doi: 10.1038/clpt.2011.105

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3195407/

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Quitting Smoking And Depression

A lot of smokers worry about getting depression after they quit smoking. Before we jump in, let’s state that the evidence between quitting smoking and depression is not clear. What is clear is that there are more smokers who suffer from depression than non-smokers, potentially because they smoke to feel better.

You shouldn’t wait to quit because you’re worried about depression. New evidence supports that quitting smoking is actually associated with reduced depression, anxiety, and stress, improved positive mood and quality of life

Quitting Smoking And Depression
Quitting smoking does not necessarily lead to depression

compared to the continuation of smoking [1].

How do I know if I have Depression After I Quit?

It’s important to note that depression is more than just being sad a single day. Changes in mood and feeling down are normal when you quit smoking. These feelings are from withdrawal from nicotine and generally go on for 1-2 weeks only. However, depression is characterized by constantly feeling sad, getting easily frustrated, changes in sleep, feeling worthless, being tried, getting grumpy, and changes in behavior like not wanting to do things that used to be fun.

Here’s a free Quiz that is sponsored by the National Institute of Health to find out if you’re suffering from depression:

Do you Have Depression Quiz

What are the treatments for Depression?

If you feel like you may have depression after you quit you should look for treatment. Whatever you do, don’t start smoking again! Smoking does not treat depression and is linked to tons of serious health risks.

Treatments for depression begin by speaking to a doctor or your mental health professional. They may recommend counseling‚ talk therapy‚ psychotherapy, medication, or some combination of all of them.

Other small things you can do to make yourself feel better are:

• Exercise – A common theme for smokers who are trying to quit! It’s a great mood booster.
• Reconnect with friends and loved ones – Support is key, not only in quitting smoking but also in beating depression.
• Structure your day – Stay busy by getting out of your house and doing activities.
• Join a Sports League- Not only will you get exercise but you will also get to connect with others.

Don’t be discouraged or embarrassed if you’re experiencing depression. 1 in every 6 Americans suffer from depression at one point of their lives and millions have overcome it. You can too!

Sources:

[1] Taylor Gemma, McNeillAnn, Girling Alan, FarleyAmanda, Lindson-HawleyNicola, Aveyard Paul et al. Change in mental health after smoking cessation: systematic review and meta-analysis BMJ 2014;348 :g1151
http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g1151

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Quitbit Android App Device Compatibility

Hi Everyone – We have recently released our v1.0 of Quitbit’s Android app. We’re excited that so many of you have started using it with your Quitbit lighters.

At the same time we’re hearing some feedback from users that the Android apps Bluetooth isn’t working with some phone models. Bluetooth on Android is a tricky system to get right, since each different device’s manufacturer has different firmware that communicates to the Android base API.

As of right now, the Quitbit App should work on all phones running Android 4.4.2 and above (API Level 19) which are Bluetooth 4.0 (Low Energy) compatible. However, we’ve only personally validated the following devices:

– Moto G3

– Samsung Galaxy S4

– Samsung Galaxy S5

– Samsung Galaxy S6
– Nexus 5
– One Plus One
– LG F60
– Sony Xperia Z3
 Phones we’re experience issues on:
– HTC one mini2

 

If your devices isn’t listed here, but bluetooth is functioning properly please drop us a line at support@quitbitlighter.com or comment below so we can get listed.
If your Bluetooth isn’t functioning properly please get in touch at support@quitbitlighter.com. We’re working to get maximum coverage on the most popular Android devices and will be continuing to push new updates to the Play store.

 

Thanks,
Team Quitbit

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Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal

The first few days when you quit smoking are the most difficult because you’re suffering from symptoms of Nicotine withdrawal. The good news is that these feelings will all go away with enough time and discipline. These tips will help you

Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawl-Headache
Headache is a common symptom of nicotine withdrawal

to recognize the symptoms of Nicotine withdrawal and develop strategies on how to deal with them.

Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal

  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Cravings to smoke
  • Constipation
  • Dry Mouth
  • Depression
  • Cough
  • Anger
  • Weight Gain
  • Feeling More Hungry
  • Trouble Sleeping

Dealing with Nicotine Withdrawal

The first few days can be really rough when trying to quit, but it’s best to always remind yourself the reason you are quitting in the first place to stay motivated and on track. These tips below can help with the withdrawal symptoms:

  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRTs) – Using Nicotine patches and gums can help with the symptoms of withdrawal by slowly weaning your body off nicotine. Studies have shown that using NRTs can up to double your chances of success [1].
  • Exercise – Exercising increases your dopamine levels which in turn makes you feel happy. The feeling is sometimes referred to as ‘a runners high’. Because nicotine used to give you the same feeling, you can replace the feeling with a healthy alternative, exercise. Another perk of staying active is that it can help you sleep at night and may help curb some of the weight gain.
  • Social Support – When dealing with cravings and withdrawal, its good to communicate your efforts to your friends and family that you’re going to quit. If you’re having a hard time, talk to someone who can coach you through your symptoms of cravings, anxiety and depression. If you don’t have anyone to support you, you can always call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to talk to a quit counselor. Check out our blog post for more info about free professional help to quit smoking.
  • Meditation Techniques – Meditating and doing deep breathing exercises when you are experiencing cravings have been shown to help people quit smoking by reducing the stress associated with quitting. These techniques help you stay calm and avoid becoming overly stressed out.

Just as was mentioned at the start of the post, keep in mind that these feelings are temporary and that they will all go away by staying dedicated. Don’t be discouraged, stay focused and you’ll be able to kick the habit in no time!

 

Sources:

1 – Stead LF, Perera R, Bullen C, et al. Nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;11:CD000146. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23152200

 

 

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How to Get FREE help to Quit Smoking

You’ve probably tried to quit smoking in the past and if you’re reading this, you probably have had your challenges. No worries. The average smoker can take up to 7 times before they can finally kick the habit. Today, we’re going to explore an awesome resource for smokers who are trying to quit: FREE help to quit smoking over the phone.  

What?

Free Help to Quit Smoking
Free Help to Quit Smoking

Every state in the U.S. offers completely free training for smokers trying to quit via their highly trained smoking counselors in a program called Quitlines. Quitlines give you access to counselors through the phone. They differ slightly from state to state, but they will usually give you: expert advice from a counselor, a personalized plan for you to quit, self- help materials, coping strategies and mechanism, and even social support.

Why?

Most importantly, these methods are scientifically proven to help you quit! Over the years, tons of studies have been done that demonstrate the effectiveness of support.. Assistance through Quitlines alone can DOUBLE your chances to quit and paired with gums and patches it could TRIPLE it [1]. The process is so effective it has been written into the U.S. national guidelines for smoking cessation.

If you think it’s weird to talk to a professional about quitting, think of them as the equivalent of personal trainer for people trying to lose weight. It’s not weird to talk to a personal trainer when trying to get fit, so why should it be weird to talk to a counselor when trying to quit smoking?

How?

Pickup the phone and dial 1-800-QUIT-NOW. They’ll connect you to your state’s Quitline and you can get started.

For more information on your State’s local Quitline visit Smokefree.gov.

  

Sources:

[1] – Fiore, MC, et al., Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update—Clinical Practice Guideline, U.S. Public Health Service, May 2008, http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/tobacco/treating_tobacco_use08.pdf.

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What can Googles Search Trends tell us about E-cigs?

image

With all the constant chatter in the news about E-cigarettes it feels like everyone is picking up the habit (Vape was even named Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year). That got us thinking… what can Google’s search trends tell us about vaping?

A quick search gave us the nifty graph below:

image

The trend is undeniable… it seems like e-cigarettes have enjoyed nearly exponential growth over the last couple years. That isn’t all that shocking though, what IS interesting are the local peaks that pop up every January…

Coincidence? We think not. That’s when most smokers try to kick the habit for their new years resolutions. So the trend is really telling us that a lot of smokers are in fact looking to vaping as a way to quit smoking! 

We’re a fan of whatever can help a smoker quit – as long as its safe and it works for them. 

Only time can tell if this year we’ll see a continuation of the trend come January… we’ll report back to you guys in a couple months with the results!

Team Quitbit 

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