Iowa tobacco users are paying more for tobacco since the $1 tax was added. It is hoped that the increased tax will encourage Iowans to give up tobacco use, thus saving lives and health problems for thousands of Iowans.
There are a number of services and products that can help Iowans quit tobacco use.
QuitLine Iowa is operated by the Tobacco Research Center, a part of the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa. QuitLine Iowa is a free service with a toll-free number, 1-866-822-6879. The staff can answer your questions about quitting smoking and help you develop your own quit plan.
Cold Turkey is stopping smoking abruptly. The person needs to be highly motivated. It is a simple, low cost method of quitting. Withdrawal symptoms may be severe for some people, especially those who have smoked high nicotine level cigarettes.
The Nicotine Fading method reduces the amount of nicotine smoked by 30/60/90 percent over a three week period. This method may help reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms. The American Lung Association can provide a list of the nicotine levels of the various cigarette brands.
Nicotine Gum provides an alternate source of nicotine and helps reduce withdrawal symptoms. Smokers must not smoke when using the gum. Nicotine gum does not need a prescription. It can cost up to several hundred dollars, but is less expensive than smoking.
Nicotine Transdermal Patches are thin medicated patches, which are attached to the skin with adhesive. It is an alternate source of nicotine which helps reduce withdrawal symptoms. It requires smokers to stop using cigarettes. It is a good choice for a highly addictive smoker, especially if they smoke a cigarette with high nicotine level. Patches can cost up to several hundred dollars but is much cheaper than smoking.
Nicotine Nasal Spray helps reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It allows smokers to gradually reduce their dependence on nicotine. The spray is absorbed through the membranes of the nose and acts quickly to stop cravings. There is a risk that the spray could become addictive. It should not be used longer than three months.
Nicotine Inhalers provide about one third the amount of nicotine in a cigarette. It is as effective as nicotine patches. The inhaler should not be used any longer than six months because of the risk of addiction.
Cigarette Filters attach to cigarettes and gradually reduce the amount of nicotine consumed. The amount of nicotine is reduced by about 25% each week until the fourth week, when 90% of the nicotine is filtered out. These filters are purchased separately from cigarettes and have to be attached to each new cigarette. No prescription is needed.
Nicotine Lozenges are available over the counter. They provide an alternate source of nicotine to help avoid cigarette cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Zyban is a prescription medicine to help people stop smoking. It has been shown to help people stop smoking, as well as reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Chantix is a prescription medicine to help adults stop smoking. Chantix acts at sites in the brain affected by nicotine. It helps smokers quit in two ways. First, it provides some nicotine effects to ease withdrawal symptoms. Second, it blocks the effects of nicotine from cigarettes if the person resumes smoking. The smoker starts taking Chantix 7 days before their quit date. This lets Chantix build up in the body. They can keep smoking during this time. It is important to quit on the quit date. Most people take Chantix for up to 12 weeks.
Combining quit methods have been shown to greatly increase the chances of remaining smoke-free. Smokers who used a blend of the nicotine patch and nasal spray doubled their chances of staying smoke free for six years. Other studies repeat these findings that use of several options, such as Zyban and nicotine replacement therapy along with support groups increases the success rate.
In the near future, researchers hope to have a nicotine vaccine available to the public. The vaccine causes the immune system to produce antibodies. The antibodies act like a "sponge" soaking up nicotine as it circulates in the blood stream and preventing it from reaching the brain. The pleasurable feeling normally felt from nicotine is no longer present. Studies are still ongoing to determine the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine.
For more information about any cancer concern, contact:
Cancer Information Service
Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center
UI Hospitals and Clinics
200 Hawkins Drive, 4802 JPP
Iowa City, Iowa 52242