When seeing patients, I often receive questions about alternative methods for stopping smoking such as electronic cigarettes, gradual reduction, or “social smoking”. I welcome these discussions because it means my patients are contemplating or curious about stopping smoking, which is something I always want to support.
While most smokers know or have heard stories of someone who successfully quit with these non-evidence-based methods, I encourage my patients to do one thing when we meet: have an open mind about the treatment strategies that have been proven to work.
Though some succeed with alternative methods of stopping smoking, research demonstrates that they are not effective for the majority of smokers. Gradual reduction or continuing to smoke socially is likely to keep a smoker addicted and using tobacco. And while e-cigarettes may or may not have a place in future treatment, many concerns are being reported on the safety and effectiveness of these devices. At the same time, there are 7 medications proven to be helpful in stopping smoking, and tobacco specialists are continually discovering new behavioral strategies that can help a person quit.
What I ask is that when you meet with a tobacco specialist or your care provider, keep an open mind just as you might when seeking the assistance of a cardiologist for heart issues or a certified auto mechanic for your vehicle. You both bring expertise to the table and in working together; you may come up with a plan that is right for you!