Withdrawal, electronic cigarettes… Five questions on stopping smoking

► Is the electronic cigarette useful for quitting smoking?

In recent years, vaping has become very popular to quit smoking. “It is the most used method in France, and it works, explains Professor Bertrand Dautzenberg, tobacco specialist at the Arthur Vernes Institute, especially since we do not smoke electronic cigarettes all their life: today, there are as many ex-vapers as there are vapers ”. The professor specifies that it is necessary that the use of electronic cigarettes be supervised. “It has to be taken well and combined with the right dosage. I recommend asking a specialist for advice or going to a vape shop to get real advice ”, he said.

→ EXPLANATION. What are the risks of electronic cigarettes?

For addictologist Stéphanie Ladel, vaping is always better than smoking cigarettes “Unless it is a start” and provided that it is a path for an exit from tobacco. In 2020, 37.4% of 18-75 year olds said they had already experimented with electronic cigarettes, according to Public Health France. 5.4% said they own one, and 4.3% use it daily.

► Does quitting smoking necessarily lead to weight gain?

Gaining weight because of quitting smoking is a fear shared by many smokers, but it is far from inevitable. “Not everyone who replaces nicotine well does not gain weight, says Professor Dautzenberg, on the other hand, those who stop suffering and struggling take it: stopping must therefore be done gently and calmly, without frustration ”.

“Gaining weight because of stopping smoking is a preconceived idea, confirms Stéphanie Ladel. By replacing the lack of nicotine, we do not cause stress so we do not take refuge in food “. The addictologist warns, however: “Smoking suppresses the appetite. It is therefore possible that we find a hunger that we were no longer used to, but it is not an ogre appetite, it is a normal appetite “. It also states that a smoker has a less pronounced taste and smell. When quitting, it is common to find flavors that were previously tarnished by tobacco and to take more pleasure in eating.

► How long does it take to quit smoking?

Many smokers who would like to quit are discouraged by the time it would take. For specialists, this should not be a fear. “The shutdown can take a week or two weeks! “ assures Bertrand Dautzenberg. “ If we are well supported, a smoker can quit smoking in two weeks without difficulty, attests Stéphanie Ladel who specifies that an addiction to nicotine can be treated with substitutes.

→ READ. Tobacco, the number of smokers fell by 1.6 million in two years

If the stop can be done quickly, the addiction ends ” in three months “, according to Professor Dautzenberg, who warns: “A smoker who has quit smoking does not become a non-smoker but an ex-smoker who will be threatened for life with a relapse”.

► Is there a good time to quit smoking?

End of year celebrations, stressful episode, new job … Smokers tend to postpone stopping, believing that “This is not the right period” to stop. “The right time is tomorrow morning, assureProfessor Dautzenberg. Smokers are not the culprits but victims of an addiction, you just have to decide to cure this addiction. ” However, he considers that the “Tobacco-Free Month” is a good gateway to quitting smoking, in particular to seek advice from specialists and ex-smokers.

“I want to fight against the common idea that stopping is done in misfortune and suffering”, says Stéphanie Ladel. Thanks to substitutes, it may be easier than you think, with the support of patches, gums and accompaniment.

► Is it useful to cut down on smoking?

Should we stop abruptly or reduce our consumption first? Experts agree: reducing the number of cigarettes is always useful if it is a path to quitting. On the other hand, “To decrease without sufficient nicotine intake brings suffering and is of no interest”, assures Bertrand Dautzenberg.

→ TESTIMONIAL. Tobacco Free Month: “I have decided to quit smoking”

Stéphanie Ladel underlines another point of vigilance: some smokers, to remedy the lack, may tend to draw much more on their cigarette, which is even more harmful. The addictologist also warns that each cigarette reinforces nicotine addiction. “The risk 0 for health exists only with 0 smoked cigarettes”.


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