Nicotine replacement therapy can help smokers cope with nicotine cravings that may occur after they have stopped smoking.
Nicotine replacement therapy can increase the chances of a smoker successfully quitting cigarettes by reducing nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, sprays and tablets are available which help to break the habit of smoking, ease nicotine cravings, and control the urge to reach for another cigarette.
Stopping Smoking and Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms
Many smokers suffer nicotine withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop smoking. This is because nicotine is a highly addictive stimulant. When a smoker stops smoking, his or her body must adjust to falling nicotine levels, symptoms of which may include feeling irritated and anxious, difficulty concentrating and sleeping, light-headedness, headaches, fatigue and strong cravings for cigarettes.
Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal will not last forever, but they are likely to last a few weeks. It is not a magic cure, but nicotine replacement therapy can help a smoker through these difficult times.
Quit Cigarettes with Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Nicotine replacement therapy contains nicotine, and provides a substitute for the nicotine in cigarettes. Used in place of cigarettes, it weans a smoker off nicotine gradually, helping to reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms and nicotine cravings. Nicotine replacement therapy is safer than cigarettes because it contains no poisonous chemicals such as tar and carbon monoxide found in cigarette smoke.
Nicotine replacement products are not designed to be used indefinitely. They should be used for about three months, during which time the nicotine dosage is gradually reduced. This allows the smoker to reduce his or her dependency on nicotine until it is not needed at all.
Nicotine Gum, Patches, Inhalers, Oral Sprays and Tablets
Here are the different types of nicotine replacement therapies, which when used correctly, are effective in helping smokers to stop smoking:
Nicotine Gum – Nicotine-containing chewing gum that allows nicotine to be quickly delivered through the lining of the mouth.
Nicotine Patches – Nicotine-containing patches that are applied to the skin. Nicotine is slowly and steadily released through the skin.
Nicotine Spray – Nicotine-containing spray that is sprayed into the nostrils and inhaled for a quick delivery of nicotine.
Nicotine Inhaler – An inhaler containing nicotine, inhaled via the mouth as if smoking a cigarette.
Nicotine Tablets – Nicotine-containing tablets that are sucked rather than swallowed. As the tablets dissolve, nicotine passes through the mouth lining.
Although nicotine replacement products do not feel like cigarettes, they can help greatly with the transition from smoker to non-smoker. Different products suit different people depending on their preference and the number of cigarettes they are used to smoking. It may be helpful to consult a doctor, pharmacist or smoking support service for advice about which type of nicotine replacement therapy is most suitable.
If a smoker decides to stop smoking, it is helpful to make a ‘stop smoking’ plan. For more information read How to Make a Stop Smoking Plan. However, if a smoker remains unconvinced it is worth trying to quit smoking, it may be useful to read about the chemicals in cigarettes and the health benefits of quitting smoking.
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