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Focus on smoking: Regaining control helps kick the habit

13 February 2013

Attitude stubs out addiction

GETTING into the correct mindset is the first step to throwing away the cigarette stub for good, says Klinicare pharmacist Bianca Harper, who believes making a conscious decision to quit the habit is crucial.

“I have seen patients coming into the pharmacy for advice, [anti-smoking] gums, patches and tablets just to have them say they are back to smoking again after a couple of weeks or months. Therefore, the mindset of the patient is the first line of treatment. It is not easy to quit smoking, but there are smoking-cessation aids available to help stop the cravings.”

Harper, well-known in Nelson Mandela Bay for her public talks when she was The Herald Spec-Savers Miss Port Elizabeth 2010, said there was little difference in the efficacy of the aids available on the market.

“The lozenges work by releasing controlled amounts of nicotine at a slow rate. The effect is somewhat similar to the anti-smoking gum [which also has] a nicotine taste to it, and keeps your mouth preoccupied.

“Inhalers are similar to electronic cigarettes because they provide some degree of comfort by giving a hand-to-mouth ritual that is similar to smoking,” she said.

Harper recommended Champix and Zyban (an antidepressant) to help patients stop smoking.

“Both are schedule five medication and will require a prescription

“There is speculation about Champix. I have seen patients on it who’ve had excellent results, but obviously working with their health care providers,” she said.

“Champix’s active ingredient is varenicline. It works by blocking nicotine receptors in the brain. Its indication says it is an aid to smoking cessation in patients committed to stop smoking, in addition to a behaviour modification programme for 12 weeks.”

Though Harper recommends Champix, a warning on the product’s package says the medication could cause “serious neuropsychiatric events, including: depression, suicidal thoughts and behaviour, agitation and hostility were documented. Therefore, the patient on this treatment should monitor their moods and alert their doctor immediately”.

“Zyban is [recommended in conjunction with counselling]. Something interesting about Zyban is that smokers who [were] on anti-depression bupropion hydrochloride reported that they had lesser cravings to smoke. [It’s been found to be] effective in treating smoking cessation,” said Harper.


Help at hand to kick and beat the habit

QUITTING smoking is not easy. So, if you need help to overcome your addiction here are a few places in Port Elizabeth offering programmes that you could try: 

  • Allen Carr’s Easyway: 


The Allen Carr method involves examining the reasons smokers smoke. According to Allen Carr therapists, it is not the lack of willpower that makes it difficult to stop smoking but the conflict of will. The method used by these therapists aims to help clients stop smoking by eliminating the conflict of will.

According to Dr Charles Nel, Easyway clinics have a success rate of more than 95%.

The Port Elizabeth clinic facilitates sessions at King George guest house in Mill Park at R2 400 per private delegate, but Discovery Vitality members pay R480. 

  • I Quit Smoking (IQS): 


The IQS course uses the reflection instrument scanning electro-pulse treatment method, which takes about an hour and is administered by an IQS-trained therapist. Each session is personalised: the patient’s information is entered into “no smoke” software.

The treatment protocol of its centres has been developed and improved during a six-year period, according to IQS. Also, 90% of smokers quit permanently, IQS said. Each IQS centre normally sets its own promotions and pricing. During the Port Elizabeth launch period the IQS treatment will be available at a promotional price of R1 500. 

  • Ben Coetzee Registered Hypnotists: 


Coetzee believes in the power of the mind. “A person has to want to stop smoking in order for that person to be successful, the hypnotist is just there to assist that person on their way.”

Sessions last for a maximum of an hour. During hypnosis, a patient is often asked to imagine unpleasant outcomes from smoking.

Hypnosis, in general, does not work for everyone. When successful, the intensity of hypnosis can vary.

Coetzee operates in Mount Pleasant, Port Elizabeth. Cost is R250 per session.

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