Smoking cessation

Smoking cessation refers to the process of stopping smoking. Many people who smoke cigarettes become addicted to nicotine, a drug found in tobacco. This means that people experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms during smoking cessation, making it difficult to stop smoking. Many smokers find that it takes more than one attempt to quit successfully.

Although difficult, smoking cessation has many benefits, including improved mental and physical health. Several effective interventions can help, typically involving a combination of therapy and medication.

Read on for more information about smoking cessation and explore treatment options right for you.

Prevalence of smoking

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1):

Smoking and health

Smoking tobacco has been linked to many physical health problems, such as:

Smoking is also associated with mental health problems, such as:

Additionally, the DSM-5, the manual used by professionals to diagnose mental health conditions, includes a diagnostic category called Tobacco Related Disorders. This reflects a pattern of smoking that causes clinically significant levels of distress or impairment.

That said, anyone who smokes tobacco will benefit from quitting - you do not need to have a diagnosis of a tobacco related disorder.

Symptoms of addiction to smoking

If you experience some of the following symptoms, consider enlisting the support of a professional to help you quit smoking:

Treatment options for smoking cessation

If you’d like to quit smoking, consider a combination of the following options:

Therapy for smoking cessation

Typically, some type of therapy is an important component of smoking cessation; whether it’s behavioral support in a group setting, or more intensive individual counseling. Common therapeutic approaches include:

What to look for in a therapist for smoking cessation

There are several factors to keep in mind when selecting a therapist, including:

Specialization: Look for a therapist with experience and specialized training in smoking cessation or the therapy type that resonates with you. They often include this information in their biography on their website or online profile.

Qualifications: With so many different provider types available, it can be difficult to decide which type of mental health professional to see. The most important thing is to look for a currently licensed therapist.

Personal fit: The trusting relationship between you and your therapist, known as the “therapeutic alliance” can have a huge impact on the efficacy of therapy. The best way to judge how you might feel about a therapist is to ask for a preliminary phone call. This also allows you to ask about their experience, which therapy modality they recommend, and what that will be like. Try to speak to a few different therapists before deciding on a provider.

Sources and references