Get up to date on the FAQs

Here we answer some of the frequently-asked questions that we get at The Smokers’ Helpline. If you don’t see the answer to your question, give us a call—our counsellors will be happy to help you:  1-800-363-5864

Is cutting back the number of cigarettes I smoke an effective way to quit?

For some people, slowly reducing the number of cigarettes really works. Cutting back reduces nicotine intake and can help reduce your nicotine cravings. It also gives you a taste of what it feels like to smoke less. While cutting back, you can also learn more about your smoking habits, such as what leads you to reach for a cigarette.

What is nicotine replacement therapy?

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is the use of various forms of nicotine delivery methods intended to replace the nicotine obtained from tobacco products. Examples of NRTs include nicotine patches, nicotine gum, nicotine lozenges, nicotine inhaler and nicotine mouth spray. NRT has been shown to reduce nicotine cravings and relieve some nicotine withdrawal symptoms. For more information on NRTs, click here.

Are nicotine replacement products safe?

While NRT products do contain nicotine, they do not contain many of the other harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke. When used properly, NRT is considered safer than continuing to smoke. There is no evidence that it causes nicotine addiction, cancer or other serious health effects associated with smoking. Before using NRTs, you should always speak to your health care provider first. Nicotine replacement therapy may not be right for you if you are pregnant or have heart disease.For more information on NRT safety, click here.

What are the symptoms of withdrawal?

When you stop smoking, these are some of the withdrawal symptoms you may experience: irritability, feeling tired, the ‘blues,’ increased coughing, dry throat or mouth, craving for a cigarette, dizziness, and difficulty sleeping. These symptoms usually last about 4 days to a couple of weeks, and are actually signs that your body is healing from nicotine addiction. Click here for more on withdrawal symptoms with tips to help you deal with them.

Do e-cigarettes work and are they safe?

Unfortunately, studies to determine the safety of e-cigarettes have not been done yet. Users of e-cigarettes are currently inhaling unknown, unregulated, potentially harmful substances. This does raise concerns about health risks. There is also no scientific evidence to support e-cigarettes as an effective product to quit smoking. For these reasons, Health Canada and the Canadian Lung Association do not support the use of e-cigarettes.For information on approved quit methods, check out information on quitting cold turkey, cutting back, nicotine replacement therapy and quit smoking medications.

How can I deal with my cravings?

There are plenty of things you can do to help you deal with cravings. You can distract yourself by calling a friend or by doing something such as deep breathing or an activity until the craving passes.Since managing your cravings is such an important part of the quit process, we’ve prepared a few articles. Click on a link for more details and explanations.

What about alternative therapies?

There are several alternative therapies people may consider using to aid in smoking cessation. These include acupuncture, hypnosis and laser treatment. Quitting smoking is an individual process; while some smokers achieve success through the use of these treatments, there is limited scientific evidence to show that these increase your chance of success. If individuals are interested in alternative treatments, the Smokers’ Helpline encourages them to consider all options and make the decision that is right for them.

Didn’t find your question? Call the Smokers’ Helpline: 1-800-363-5864