As a naturopathic physician, I don’t see too many patients who have an active smoking habit (smoking cigarettes, that is). The number of people that I see smoking in public nowadays is definitely fewer than it has been in the past. However, I’ve seen a rise in people smoking e-cigarettes, and many people believe that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes. This is not true – since they can have more nicotine than cigarettes, they can be more harmful AND more addictive.
People who try to quit smoking will usually try an over-the-counter nicotine gum or a nicotine patch. There’s also Chantix, an oral medication that you can get prescribed by your doctor. So which one is better? Knowing whether you’re a fast or a slow metabolizer of nicotine can help you find which treatment would be more effective. Fast metabolizers clear nicotine faster from their blood, so they tend to smoke more cigarettes, be more nicotine-dependent, and have a harder time quitting (so it’s better to be a slow metabolizer in this case). Research has shown that fast metabolizers have higher quit rates with Chantix compared to the patch. Slow metabolizers have equal quit rates with Chantix and the patch, but they can actually have more side effects with Chantix (so the patch is better overall for slow metabolizers).
Acupuncture can also be used to help kick a nicotine addiction, and it doesn’t take very many needles. But whichever treatment you choose, whether it’s the patch, medication, or acupuncture, for it to be successful, you have to be ready to quit smoking.