Sometimes people ask me why they should take medications to stop smoking, or stop chewing tobacco. They tell me that they are trying to get off tobacco, and aren’t the medications merely putting the nicotine back into the body? The truth is that tobacco and the accompanying chemicals and gases when smoked, contains over 7000 chemicals and 60 known carcinogens. Interestingly, nicotine is not a carcinogen. Research indicates that nicotine is the chemical which gives us pleasure in the brain and makes us wait in line to buy the next pack. However, since nicotine does not cause cancer, and the medications, which have been approved by the FDA (patches, nicotine gum, Inhaler, nicotine lozenges, and Nasal Spray) are used in a controlled manner, through the veins (not the lungs or the arteries) the nicotine medications are recommended by health care professionals because they are safe and effective. Studies show a doubling of your chances to stop by using the medications to manage the urges and cravings that cause people to relapse. Withdrawal from nicotine causes irritability, anxiety, restlessness and affects concentration, so managing or avoiding these symptoms is comforting. In addition, counseling and support have demonstrated a doubling of your chances of stopping. Therefore, using the medications properly, and getting counseling gives you four times the advantage of stopping than not using these effective techniques. And it’s good to remember stopping smoking is a process, so making additional attempts, will pay off in the long run.