Health Advocate Blog

Quitting tobacco: Understanding your options

Quitting tobacco is difficult, but luckily there are many options to help you quit. Choose the option that works best for you. You may even find yourself trying multiple options before you are successful in quitting. Read on to learn about the different approaches to help you quit tobacco.

Cold turkey

This means total abstinence from tobacco – the most difficult method. The withdrawal symptoms of nicotine can be tough to deal with in addition to cravings and triggers. However, there are some people who find the nicotine they receive from tapering or nicotine replacement therapies to be a tease as they delay withdrawal, and are more confident in quitting cold turkey.


This method requires slowly weaning from tobacco over time by reducing it in small increments. If you’re thinking about using this method, try these tips:

  • Determine how many cigarettes or chews you want to eliminate from your day. For example, if you’re a pack-a-day smoker, you may want to cut out 5 cigarettes a day for a week, then 10 the next week, and so on.
  • Eliminate those you don’t really “need” or that you’re less dependent on first.
  • Replace the tobacco with a new healthy behavior.
  • Keep your pack, can or pouch out of reach to avoid temptation as well as create a delay between wanting one and getting it.

Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs)

NRTs help alleviate withdrawal symptoms by providing you with the nicotine, without the tobacco and harmful chemicals, so you are able to wean without experiencing major withdrawal. The most common NRTs include the patch, gum and lozenges, all of which are available without prescription.  Two prescription NRTs include nicotine nasal spray and nicotine inhaler.


There are several prescription medications available that could help you quit tobacco. Ask your doctor for options that may be suitable for you.

Keep in mind…

NRTs and tobacco cessation medications are just one part of quitting. You’ll still have to learn to change your behaviors associated with tobacco use to successfully quit and stay quit.

A word on e-cigs

They may be marketed as tools to help quit smoking, but they are not. E-cigs are not approved as an NRT and may have potential health effects.

For Health Advocate Members

If you are a Health Advocate member with access to the wellness coaching component of our Wellness Program, you have access to a Coach to help you quit tobacco. Call us today to learn more!