About 90 percent of cigarette smokers in the United States try to break the habit. Most fail. But now there are some tools and some research-backed methods to help people quit. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Smokers trying to quit know this scenario well: they stop for a few days, maybe a few weeks. Then, without warning, they give in and light up a cigarette.
"You cannot resist the craving," smoker Julie Gelfand said. "You cannot keep fighting."
When a smoker takes a puff, a burst of nicotine is delivered to the brain within five heartbeats. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug.
But some new products are available that may help smokers become nonsmokers.
A battery powered, smokeless "cigarette" contains nicotine but no tobacco.
"It's almost like getting the nicotine fill without really smoking."
But the smokeless cigarette will soon get competition from a nicotine vaccine.
The vaccine is designed to prevent the brain from telling the body that nicotine makes it feels good.
Dr. Nancy Rigotti directs a tobacco treatment service in Massachusetts. "They are essentially starving the brain of nicotine," Dr. Rigotti explains. "So when somebody smokes, they don't get any satisfaction. And after a while, they stop."
The vaccine is still in the research stage. But a nicotine mouth spray will soon be available.
As will nicotine mouth pouches - to satisfy the craving.
"We need more help so there are more choices," Dr. Rigotti said.
Such as nicotine patches, already on the market. "Not everyone can respond to one thing," Dr. Rigotti added. She says most people cannot quit on their own.
The World Health Organization estimates that nearly five million people die of tobacco-related deaths each year.
If current patterns continue, that number will grow to some 10 million deaths a year by 2020.
Which is why people need a variety of treatments to snuff out those cigarettes for good.