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Suitable for New Year's resolutions - the best smoking cessation methods
Numerous measures have already been implemented in Germany to curb the consumption of cigarettes and tobacco. In addition to government trials, such as restrictions on advertising, tax increases and warnings, there are a variety of methods and tools to permanently separate yourself from the glow stick. The range of over-the-counter nicotine replacement products is wide, from plasters, chewing gums, sprays to lozenges. But are all the measures equally effective?
Stiftung Warentest has addressed this issue in a current special edition. The consumer advocates base their judgment on well-known specialist literature and scientific studies, which have been evaluated by expert experts. The prerequisite was that the studies were reviewed and published in recognized medical journals. Patches, nicotine chewing gums and lozenges, medication, weaning courses, acupuncture, hypnosis and e-cigarettes were tested.
Smoking is the leading cause of premature mortality
"Smoking is a major health risk and the leading cause of premature mortality," writes the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). According to the study "Current Health in Germany", 20.8% of women and 27.0% of men aged 18 and over smoke at least occasionally. The proportion of those currently smoking is highest in the younger age groups. "Smoking is much less common in higher education groups among women and men than in lower education groups," writes the RKI. The proportion of smokers in the adult population has been falling since 2003. The RKI warns that, despite progress, there is still significant room for improvement in the area of tobacco prevention policy. More than 100,000 people in Germany still die every year from the effects of smoking.
It is worth stopping - no matter what your age
Whoever smokes dies about 10 years earlier. This emerges from a US study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. But if you stop, you benefit. Anyone who permanently removes the glow stick between the ages of 25 and 34 has the same life expectancy as those who have never smoked. In the group of 35 to 44-year-olds, life expectancy is only reduced by about a year if smoking is stopped successfully.
Even between the ages of 45 and 54, life expectancy increases by six years with permanent smoking cessation. But there are already successes after a short time. The function of the respiratory tract improves after three days. After a week, the blood pressure drops. The risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases decreases within a few years.
The exit is difficult
Nicotine can be highly addictive. Many smokers have got used to the consumption for years and even ritualized it in some situations. In particular, in situations such as the tip of a beer or coffee, the abstainers miss smoking painfully. Only about five percent manage to wean on the first try without aids. The Stiftung Warentest has now examined which method promises more success in withdrawal.
Plasters, chewing gums and lozenges
In the test, the plasters Nikofrenon, Niquitin Clear, Nicotinell and Nicorette TX were examined and, according to the experts, are considered a suitable aid. The therapy costs about 100 euros per month and should be carried out for about three months. Nicotine chewing gums and lozenges help against the quick urge for a cigarette because they release the nicotine into the blood particularly quickly. "All preparations are suitable," write the experts from Stiftung Warentest. If you use the chewing gum and lozenges in addition to nicotine patches, you should use low-dose products. The products Nicorette, Nocotinell and Niquitin were evaluated.
Pills against the desire to smoke
Stiftung Warentest evaluated the prescription tablets Zyban and Champix. These are supposed to suppress the craving for nicotine. The intake is started before a smoking cessation. According to the manufacturer, a jump should then succeed after about two weeks. "According to our experts, both drugs are suitable with restrictions", Stiftung Warentest writes about the tablets.
Psychological weaning courses
The smoking cessation courses are based on the methods of behavior therapy and are intended to analyze and change habits. Contrary to many other weaning methods, some health insurance companies even contribute to the costs of certified offers. "Such group training can roughly double the chances of stopping smoking," says Stiftung Warentest.
With acupuncture and hypnosis against the embarrassment
According to Stiftung Warentest, acupuncture and hypnosis are most suitable for smokers who have failed weaning several times with other methods. "So far, there are no meaningful clinical studies that prove the effectiveness of these methods," judge the consumer advocates. But there are a lot of positive user reviews.
A popular method - the e-cigarette
Even with the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes, it has not yet been finally clarified whether the changeover has health benefits. Studies on long-term effects are still missing. According to the current state of knowledge, the experts at Stiftung Warentest suspect that e-cigarettes are more harmless than normal cigarettes, since evaporation releases fewer pollutants than when they are burned.
There are many ways to stop smoking
In general, according to the Stiftung Warentest experts, it is advisable to rely on several horses to quit smoking, such as combining a weaning course with the use of nicotine replacement products. A combination is proven to be more effective. You can find more tips in the article Quit Smoking. (fp)