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Six ways to kick the smoking habit

Six ways to kick the smoking habit

In Australia smoking is recognised as the largest single preventable cause of death and disease – with The Department of Health estimating that smoking kills 15,000 Australians each year. The good news is, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that total tobacco and cigarette consumption fell to the lowest ever recorded in the March quarter of 2014. 

For some people it may take several attempts to quit successfully. If you're one of those people, don't despair, keep at it. If you didn't use a quitting strategy in previous attempts, understanding the success rates of various quit smoking options could help you kick the habit for good.

Cold turkey

"Cold turkey" means to suddenly quit without the help of any medical aids, using willpower alone. The supposed advantage is that by not actively using supplemental methods, the person avoids further feeling the chemical addiction. Going cold turkey is, of course, free!

While there are no reported side-effects other than nicotine withdrawal symptoms, the likelihood of successfully quitting is just 7 percent, according to scientific studies.


Very fine needles are inserted into the skin at various pressure points of the body, which is thought to be associated with smoking and cravings. The cost of acupuncture differs between practitioners, but if you have private health insurance you may be entitled to a rebate on the consultation fee!

You don't need to be sick or injured to claim on your health insurance. Members can claim on a range of healthier lifestyle options including quit smoking programs, exercise physiology and even your gym membership!

The success rate of acupuncture as a quit smoking program is said to be more than double that of cold turkey, at 15 percent.

Nicotine replacement therapy

A method of absorbing nicotine into the bloodstream without smoking, nicotine replacement therapy is most commonly applied through the aid of a patch, inhaler, tablet or lozenge. The rate of success of this method is higher again, with around 23 percent chance of kicking the habit.

The side effects can include skin irritation, dizziness, headaches, dry mouth and heartburn, according to studies.

The taper method

Also known as nicotine fading, the smoker gradually cuts back on their nicotine intake usually over a few weeks until they have completely given up. It's another cost-free alternative with no side effects and the chance of success is 35 percent, according to experts.

Prescription tablets

To aid smokers in quitting, prescription tablets, which contain no nicotine, use an active ingredient that works on the same brain receptors as nicotine to stop cravings. The cost is considerably higher than other methods, but as is the success rate at 44 percent, according to research.

The possible side effects are varied; from stomach pain, dizziness, headaches and insomnia to vomiting and increased appetite.


A process that involves hypnotising the subject into believing they no longer need to rely on smoking, hypnosis helps the mind to instead focus on more healthy alternatives. The success rate is said to be around 66 percent with some possible side effects experienced including headaches, drowsiness and sickness.

If you're thinking about quitting or simply want more information about whether you're eligible for a health insurance rebate on a quit-smoking program, contact your provider or compare health insurance online. For tools and further advice see the federal government's support website quitnow.gov.au or call Quitline on 13 7848.

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