Q: I’ve decided this is the year I’m going to quit smoking. Do you have any tips for me, like maybe some natural ways to curb my cravings for nicotine?
A: Bravo for you. Think of the years of life you are going to add and the money you are going to save by doing this. Those are some very powerful motivators.
Of course millions of people have quit smoking by going “cold turkey”, but you shouldn’t choose this route simply because you are scared of nicotine. While nicotine is the addictive component of cigarettes, it’s not the component that is doing the damage, and nicotine replacement can be very helpful. By using products like the nicotine patch or nicotine gum, you can gradually decrease your dependence on nicotine without further jeopardizing your own health or the health of those around you.
If you prefer natural products over pharmaceuticals, some evidence suggests that St. John’s Wart can help control nicotine cravings.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at email@example.com