Smoking cessation (also known as quitting smoking) is the process of discontinuing tobacco smoking. Tobacco smoke contains nicotine, which is rewarding. Nicotine makes the process of quitting often very prolonged and difficult.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death worldwide. Due to its link to many chronic diseases, cigarette smoking has been restricted in many public areas. Tobacco cessation significantly reduces the risk of dying from tobacco-related diseases such as coronary heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer. Seventy percent of smokers would like to quit smoking, and 50 percent report attempting to quit within the past year. Many different strategies can be used for smoking cessation, including quitting without assistance ("cold turkey" or cut down then quit), medications such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), cytisine, bupropion or varenicline, and behavioral counseling. Most smokers who try to quit do so without assistance, though only 3% to 6% of quit attempts without assistance are successful. Medications and behavioral counseling increase the rate of successfully quitting smoking, and a combination of both medication and behavioral interventions is more effective than either intervention alone.
Since nicotine is addictive, quitting smoking leads to symptoms of nicotine withdrawal such as nicotine cravings, anxiety, irritability, depression, and weight gain. Professional smoking cessation support methods generally attempt to address both nicotine addiction and nicotine withdrawal symptoms.