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Quitting smoking (smoking cessation) is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health and well-being. People who stop smoking decrease their risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and early death. Women who stop smoking before or during pregnancy reduce their risk of infertility or having a low-birth-weight baby. Most smokers in the United States report that they want to stop smoking, but kicking the smoking habit can be difficult. Most ex-smokers try several times, often as many as 8 to 10 times, before they are able to quit for good. The results are definitely worth those efforts. The December 12, 2007, issue of JAMA includes a review article reporting that smoking increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. This Patient Page is based on one previously published in the July 5, 2006, issue of JAMA.
Nicotine replacement therapy helps relieve the withdrawal symptoms that many smokers say prevent them from quitting. It contains nicotine but without the harmful substances found in cigarettes. Nicotine gum, patches, and lozenges are available over the counter. Nicotine inhalers and nasal sprays are available by prescription.
Bupropion and varenicline are approved prescription drugs to help patients stop smoking. Both medications are generally well tolerated. The most common adverse effects are insomnia from bupropion and nausea from varenicline.
Most smokers trying to quit need drug therapy or nicotine replacement therapy. Talk with your doctor about the therapy appropriate for you.
To find this and previous JAMA Patient Pages, go to the Patient Page link on JAMA's Web site at http://www.jama.com. Many are available in English and Spanish.
Sources: American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA suggests that you consult your physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. To purchase bulk reprints, call 203/259-8724.
Brender E, Lynm C, Glass RM. Smoking Cessation. JAMA. 2007;298(22):2700. doi:10.1001/jama.298.22.2700
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