Proven Strategies for Successful Smoking Cessation: A Science-Backed Guide

Though the popularity of smoking is on the decline, the numbers still don’t look good. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), it remains the leading cause of preventable deaths and diseases in the US, accounting for about 1 in 5 deaths annually. Nearly 13 of every 100 Americans still smoke, and it’s important to remember that each smoker also affects others, exposing those around them to secondhand smoke.

Quit Smoking

Quit Smoking

However, even though more and more smokers claim they want to quit, it’s easier said than done. In fact, CDC states that fewer than 1 in 10 smoking adults actually succeed in quitting each year. That’s why, if you’re determined to break the habit and win the fight against addiction, you need all the help you can get.

Luckily, you have numerous options to choose from, and some of them are actually backed by science. From vaping and nicotine patches to counseling and prescription drugs – join us as we go through the scientifically proven possibilities below.

Read Also: Vaping: Not as Safe as You Think

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Possibly one of the most popular methods of nicotine replacement, nicotine patches deliver the substance using the transdermal delivery method. They are available in various strengths and are worn on the skin, usually on the upper arm. They help reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and nicotine cravings, thus making it easier for you to stop smoking.

A review of scientific studies confirms the effectiveness of nicotine replacement; it showed that smokers were 50-70% more likely to quit with the help of nicotine patches and other similar products.

Apart from patches, there are also nicotine gums, nasal sprays, lozenges, and inhalers. Though they are not as popular as patches, they work similarly, helping increase the concentration of nicotine in your bloodstream, thus reducing cravings and helping you to get through the first few stages of withdrawal. Also, evidence suggests that combining nicotine patches with other forms of NRT can boost their effectiveness.


For those who aren’t sure they can quit cold turkey, vaping can be a great substitute. It works by heating and evaporating a liquid that may contain nicotine but also significantly fewer harmful chemicals found in regular cigarettes. What’s more, with a wide variety of available e-liquids, you can control your nicotine intake and gradually decrease it, slowly lowering your body’s dependence on the substance.

This 2020 study suggests that nicotine e-cigarettes may be more effective in helping smokers quit than nicotine replacement therapy or nicotine-free e-cigarettes. While we still need more evidence, the British NHS has decided to officially recommend this method. However, you need to approach it in the right way. As such, it’s recommended to find reputable providers like to ensure you get a high-quality kit that will actually support your efforts.

Read Also: Smoking Impairs Cognitive Performance Even in Those without High Blood Pressure and Diabetes


When it comes to quitting smoking, prescription drugs might not be the first thing that pops into your mind. However, if you struggle to give up cigarettes, you may try talking to a healthcare professional.

Drugs like varenicline (also known as Chantix or Champix) or bupropion target the relevant receptors in your brain, which results in decreased pleasure from smoking and milder withdrawal symptoms. They seem to work even better when combined with nicotine replacement therapy. Varenicline, for example, can double your chances of quitting and avoiding a relapse.

Moreover, statistics show that consulting with a physician, even briefly, is not only cost-effective but may also help you quit and keep it that way.

Read Also: Those Who Start Smoking Cannabis before the Age of 16 Twice as Likely to Experience Unemployment in Adulthood

Behavioral Counseling

When it comes to quitting smoking, there is no one-size-fits-all way. Some people need a more hands-on approach, while others require some time to think about their motivations and decisions – which is where counseling comes into play.

A counselor can help you identify what factors contributed to your smoking habit and help you find ways to deal with them so that you don’t have to rely on cigarettes to help you get through stressful situations. More than 300 studies conducted among 250,000 people provide quality proof that behavioral counseling not only increases your chances of quitting but also makes it less likely that you will relapse. It works even better when combined with drugs and/or NRT.

You can contact your local community health center or speak to your doctor about available options. They may be able to refer you to a counselor or a support group that works well with people who want to quit smoking.

The good news is that it doesn’t make a significant difference if you see a professional in person or get help remotely (via video calls, telephone, or even text messages).

Additional Tips

Focus on Financial Benefits of Smoking Cessation

Smoking is a costly habit – how often have you lamented over how much you’re spending on cigarettes each month? And that’s just the beginning.

In addition to providing a myriad of health benefits, smoking cessation will also help your financial situation. For example, you can save money on smoking-related health costs, including those associated with treating lung cancer, heart disease, gum disease, teeth loss, and other illnesses and issues. It’s estimated that an average smoker spends about $20,000 more on health costs (with women spending even $3,000 more than men).

Then, there are also obvious costs related to buying cigarettes or dry cleaning clothes, jackets, or even home items like upholstery or curtains. Not only does it leave you and your loved ones exposed to third-hand smoke (which can also be harmful to human health) but it also affects the state of your clothes and furniture, meaning you will have to replace them more often.

As you make your preparations, think about saving money and what you could do with it once you stop smoking. According to the studies conducted by Nicorette, if you smoke a pack a day (more or less 20 cigarettes daily), you will save $188 each month on average if you quit – which gives you around $2,300 annually! You might decide to put some of it aside, save for a vacation, or speed up your debt payments.

So don’t just focus on your health and the benefits to your family; it’s also about the money!

Read Also: A Bottle of Wine vs. 10 Cigarettes a Week! Which Habit Is Likely To Kill You Quicker?

Focus on Your Relationships

Another tip on how to quit smoking is to think about the impact your habit has had on your relationships. The health risks involved with smoking have been well-documented, but it’s not just the smoker who is affected. Your loved ones also suffer the consequences of your smoking habit.

However, maintaining healthy and strong relationships can also be of huge help during the quitting process. You can have a friend keep an eye on you and encourage you, you can talk to your partner about how you’re feeling or seek support from family members.

Moreover, if one of your loved ones also smokes, you can decide to quit together. According to a JAMA Internal Medicine study, half of the female smokers and nearly half of the male smokers were successful in quitting when they did it with their partner. To have something to compare it to – only 8% of men managed to quit when attempting it alone.

Focus on Your Hobbies

If you’re having a hard time dealing with nicotine cravings, try to focus on the things that bring you joy. Whether it’s listening to your favorite music or reading a book, try to indulge in your hobbies as much as you can. When you get into the habit of doing something that is not associated with smoking, it will be easier for you to forget about cigarettes.

Focus on Better Stress Management

It’s not a secret that many (if not most) smokers use cigarettes to relieve stress and manage anxiety. As such, if you’re one of those nervous smokers, it’s vital to start by recognizing your triggers and looking for better (and healthier) ways to manage these emotions.

You can try breathing exercises, meditation, mindfulness, or yoga. The effects won’t be immediate, but you will see a difference in the long term. Other relaxation techniques include hot baths, natural remedies (e.g., CBD, melatonin, or valerian root), or aromatherapy.

Read Also: USC: Vapers Develop the Same Cancer-Related Genetic Mutations as Smokers

The Bottom Line

Smoking is a serious, life-threatening addiction that can have severe consequences if not dealt with properly. But there is a way to beat the habit, and we’ve outlined some proven methods in this article. Science doesn’t lie – nor do numbers. According to the CDC, since 2002, there have been more former smokers than those who still smoke. So why shouldn’t you be among them?

In the end, remember that quitting is a process, not an event. You can’t expect to stop smoking overnight and never go back. It takes time, but it’s undoubtedly worth all the effort. You have nothing to lose but your cigarettes – and certainly have a lot to gain.

If you keep your mind focused on how much better you feel now that you’re not smoking and how much happier you are now that you’ve quit, you will have a higher chance of success.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Smoking Cessation: Fast Facts. Retrieved from

Hartmann-Boyce, J., McRobbie, H., Lindson, N., Bullen, C., Begh, R., Theodoulou, A., … & Hajek, P. (2020). Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2020(10). Retrieved from

Hartmann-Boyce, J., Chepkin, S. C., Ye, W., Bullen, C., & Lancaster, T. (2019). Additional behavioural support as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2019(6). Retrieved from



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