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Four new anti-smoking strategies

  • Story Highlights
  • Short bursts of activity can help quell cravings
  • Online groups offer encouragement anytime you need it
  • New medication works on the brain's pleasure center
  • Some are using the patch (under doctor care) just before quitting
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Researchers are constantly searching for ways to help people quit. What's new? Here are four strategies worth a try:

More stop-smoking drugs (and possibly even a vaccine) could hit the market within five years.

Short bursts of activity: A new review in the journal Addiction says a quick dose of exercise -- as little as 30 minutes of brisk walking or stretching, for instance --quells cravings.

Internet groups: Groups like Quitnet can offer round-the-clock encouragement from fellow quitters and counselors. This kind of support can double your success, studies say.

Innovative medication: Chantix, the newest stop-smoking drug, short-circuits nicotine's ability to activate the pleasure centers in the brain, so lighting up is less enjoyable. According to the National Cancer Institute, more stop-smoking drugs (and possibly even a vaccine that makes nicotine unappealing) could hit the market within five years.

A new way to use the patch: A study in Nicotine and Tobacco Research suggests that smokers who start the patch two weeks before they quit may double their success rate. (Talk to your doctor, because this trick risks exposing your body to a dangerous amount of nicotine if you smoke a lot while wearing the patch.) E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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Copyright Health Magazine 2009

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