Smoking: We do it less and less, but in 2022, nearly 20 per cent of the population aged 18 and above still smoked. With Stoptober in full swing, many people are rolling up their sleeves to say goodbye to their habit for good. New solutions can help. In this article, we discuss three of them.
- It’s Stoptober: time to say goodbye to smoking.
- New medication, VR therapy and apps can help smokers kick the habit.
Diabetes drug reduces cravings
New research from the University of Copenhagen suggests that liraglutide, a drug originally developed for diabetes and severe obesity, could help people struggling with nicotine addiction. Nicotine is the main reason why smokers find it difficult to quit.
The drug acts on GLP-1, a hormone that plays a role in the brain’s response to nicotine. Administration of this drug thus seems to reduce the urge to smoke. And according to the international database of clinical trials, many researchers are currently testing whether GLP-1-based drugs can help people quit smoking. So there is hope for the future.
Research from the Open Universiteit has shown that VR therapy also has an effect. In the study, smokers were exposed to images showing smoking people in different situations, such as a café, at a bus stop and in the morning after breakfast. It is an ideal solution because the environment can be completely adapted to the person’s needs. The solution seems to reduce cigarette cravings and seems to work especially well for smokers who had just quit. Interestingly, the effect only occurs when smokers watch VR images; ‘Normal’ video images had no effect.
There are also special apps that can help. Quiddy, for example, offers a helping hand to young adults between the ages of 16 and 25. What makes this app special is that it allows smokers to make their quit attempt together, yet anonymously. Research has shown that young people who want to quit smoking often feel the need to do so together, without external help. Quiddy brings together smokers with similar goals and challenges, allowing them to support and motivate each other through chat features. The app also provides useful information about quitting smoking and is customisable to the user’s individual needs. This buddy approach increases the chances of a successful quit attempt.