Sunday, February 10, 2013

Nicotine Substitutes

Nicotine replacement products can help cigarette users to quit in three to six months.

Everyone knows the risks of smoking but, for many, quitting is a daunting task. Fortunately, there are nicotine replacement products to help smokers curb the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, which can be both painful and aggravating. Most products estimate it takes three to six months to be free of both cigarettes and nicotine replacement products. These replacement products, whether over the counter or prescription, can be expensive, but the long-term financial benefits are massive. Be sure to consult a physician before beginning nicotine replacement.

Nicotine Gum

A popular over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy, the gum releases nicotine, which is absorbed by the mucus membranes of the mouth. To use the gum, chew slowly until a tingle is felt, then shift the gum between cheek and gum line. Once the tingle is gone, chew a few more times to get it back, then repeat the process. Don't chew continuously, and don't swallow; the nicotine can't get into the bloodstream from the stomach. Don't drink while chewing the gum for the same reason; the nicotine will be washed into the stomach. The gum doesn't taste like ordinary chewing gum--it has a peppery taste. It is recommended that users chew 10-15 pieces a day, although up to 30 is permitted.

Nicotine Patch

The nicotine patch, which is also over the counter, keeps nicotine levels at a relatively constant level all day. This differs from other methods that release nicotine in bursts to satisfy cravings immediately. Every day, place one patch on a clean piece of hairless skin. Mild itching or burning is normal and should abate within an hour. If not, remove the patch. Individuals on certain prescription medications, or suffering from certain health conditions including cardiovascular disease, shouldn't use the patch. Change the location of the patch daily to avoid skin discomfort. Because smokers aren't used to having a constant supply of nicotine in their systems, the patch can cause sleep disruption.

Nicotine Inhaler

The nicotine inhaler, also called "the puffer," is a prescription nicotine replacement. The inhaler delivers nicotine into the back of the mouth, which gives users the same back-of-the-throat sensation smoking does. It also satisfies the hand-to-mouth compulsion common among smokers. Eighty puffs on the inhaler is equal to the nicotine delivered by one cigarette. It is recommended that users go through 6-16 cartridges a day during the first three months, then taper off use in the next 6-12 weeks. The inhaler should not be used for more than 6 months.

Nicotine Nasal Spray

Another prescription replacement medication, this spray delivers nicotine into the nose in a manner similar to decongestant sprays. This system gives the body a nicotine burst more quickly than other replacement products, but nose and throat irritation is common. This irritation should fade or become tolerable after a week of use. The nasal spray should be used once or twice an hour, with a maximum of five doses an hour or 40 a day. Dependency is greater with the nasal spray than with the gum, patch or inhaler.

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