Other cessation aids

Other cessation aids

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There are a number of different cessation aids that can help support you for example: Champix, Zyban (Bupropion), cutting down gradually or going cold turkey!

Champix (Varenicline)

Champix tablets contain the active ingredient Varenicline. Varenicline blocks nicotine from acting on the receptors. This prevents any nicotine inhaled in tobacco smoke from having a rewarding and enjoyable effect.  As a result the craving and withdrawal symptoms you can get when you stop smoking are relieved. In the UK, this product is only available on prescription. There are also a number of side effects, which your adviser and/or GP should explain to you.

How you should take Champix is shown below. The packs are labelled to help you, however, your GP and adviser should explain the regime to you.

Continue smoking normally in the beginning of the course.

You will need to plan your quit date to be 7-14 days after starting to take Champix.


Days 1 – 3: 0.5 mg once daily
Days 4 – 7: 0.5 mg twice daily
Day 8 – to end of 12 week treatment: 1 mg twice a day


Safety and health and well-being

Smoking cessation with or without treatment is associated with various symptoms. For example, dysphoric or depressed mood; insomnia, irritability, frustration or anger; anxiety; difficulty concentrating; restlessness; decreased heart rate; increased appetite or weight gain have been reported in patients attempting to stop smoking.

With regard to Champix (Varenicline), there have been media reports disputing its safety, linking it with various adverse reactions. In response to this the pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, carried out a large study published in 2014 to identify any links and ease concern.

The clinical trials included approximately 4,000 patients treated with Champix for up to 1 year (average exposure 84 days).

The trials found that the most common side effect is nausea which for many people is improved by reducing the dosage to 0.5 mg all the way through the treatment. Other side effects such as headache, insomnia, abnormal dreams showed little difference between the groups.

For more information and outcomes of this research look up click here.


Zyban (Bupropion)

Rarely used today, originally marketed as an anti-depressant in America. It was found that people were giving up smoking as a result of taking this drug. It is not understood how it works but it blocks the neurotransmitters that make smoking pleasurable. In the UK, this product is only available on prescription and only suitable for a limited number of people. There are also a number of side effects, which your adviser and GP should explain to you.

Glucose Tablets

These are the normal energy sweets you can buy over the counter in your local pharmacy and can be used alongside Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products. There is considerable research being carried out on the effects of taking glucose to minimise the cravings for cigarettes. It is thought that the brain can be confused by the effect of feeling hungry and the craving for a smoke. So taking a glucose tablet to give an energy boost fools the brain into thinking it has been satisfied, thus the craving is diminished. It has been found that people who take glucose tablets/sweets tend not to put on so much weight on stopping smoking.

Cutting down gradually

Evidence shows that cutting down before giving up smoking can be counterproductive. The few cigarettes that are smoked become very important and are smoked in such a way as to maintain the same levels of nicotine as before the person had cut down. People who cut down usually gradually sneak back up to their old levels of smoking.

Cold Turkey!

It can be tough – dealing the cravings while breaking the psychological habit is difficult.  But it can be done and some people believe it is the only way to go.  Just remember, we are here to help and will gladly help you through the process in whatever way you choose to quit.