If you want or are trying to quit smoking, it’s not easy. In fact, the statistics state that only around half of those who want to quit are actually able to. I have watched many friends try to quit over the years. It is really important to look after yourself. There are various methods, techniques, and treatments you can use to kick the habit. Some treatments suit some people better than others, and some are only available for smokers of a certain age or health. One thing that statistics show us, however, is that using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) has the highest success rate.
In this article, we’re looking at what NRT products are, what they are designed to do, and why they help people quit smoking.
What is nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
The main addictive substance in tobacco is nicotine. When someone smokes a cigarette, they breathe in thousands of chemicals, dozens of which are very harmful.
Nicotine is one of the chemicals in cigarettes, and although nicotine isn’t harmful, it is the most addictive chemical.
This is why when someone quits smoking they have withdrawal symptoms. The body becomes used to receiving nicotine, and will crave that ‘hit’ nicotine provides after going cold turkey.
This is why quitting without any form of cessation aid has the lowest chance of success.
NRT products are designed to help people quit smoking by supplying the user with nicotine, without any of the harmful chemicals found in tobacco products. This enables the user to satisfy their nicotine cravings without any of the health risks of smoking.
How nicotine replacement therapy works
NRT products work by releasing a low amount of nicotine that is slowly absorbed into the body. The goal is to provide enough nicotine to help the user manage their cravings and withdrawal symptoms while being low enough to help them taper off entirely.
The most popular NRT products include:
- Patches – Patches are applied to the skin, typically on the upper arm or chest. Nicotine is released throughout the day depending on the strength of the patch.
- Lozenges – Lozenges are placed in the mouth, typically between the cheek and gum. This delivers a hit of nicotine, which is better suited to people with strong cravings.
- Gum – As gum is chewed, nicotine is released.
- Inhalers – Inhalers work a lot like vaping devices. They produce vapor, which is held in the mouth and shallow puffed. This is ideal for people who miss the actions and physical motions involved with smoking.
- Mouth Sprays – For those short on time and in need of quick fixes, mouth sprays are a good solution.
- Nasal Sprays – For those who do not like the taste of sensation of oral applications, nasal sprays an alternative.
Who can use NRT?
Most people can use NRT. A lot of NRT products are available over the counter, although it’s advisable you speak with your doctor before starting NRTfor the first time.
There are various products available and some age and health stipulations may apply. It also helps to talk with a health professional to determine what the best strength is to start with.
Nicotine overdose is rare and not easily done, but it is possible. It’s important you fully understand the strength of the products you’re using, and how you can plan to reduce your usage over time.