When you learn to start smoking, it's not an easy process. It burns you. It chokes you. It makes you nauseous and dizzy, and while your head is spinning, you have a really bad taste in your mouth.
But learning to stop smoking is a whole lot worse. You cough. You fidget. You crave. You want cigarettes. You want to go back to the day that you started this process and live that day over.
These days, your doctor can offer you a lot more help, in the form of smoking cessation drugs, while you're going through the withdrawal. There's Zyban, which gives you a mental boost. There's Chantix, which keeps your brain from sucking up the chemical benefits of nicotine. And then there are your old friends, the nicotine patch, nicotine gum and nicotine lozenges. If you've been smoking for any length of time, you've probably encountered them before.
While these methods may substantially increase your chances of quitting, they're not for everyone. The side effects can be overwhelming, and on rare occasions, even deadly. But experts say it's worth a try. Dr. Steven A. Schroeder, distinguished professor of health and health care at the University of California at San Francisco, says that even with the warnings, using the drugs is much safer than continuing to smoke.
Read on to find out 10 things you need to know before turning to cessation drugs to help you kick the habit.