Thursday, February 14, 2013

What's Nicotine Alternative Therapy

What Is Nicotine Replacement Therapy?

Nicotine replacement therapy is used to help smokers kick the habit. Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical in cigarettes and other tobacco products. When smokers try to quit, they often suffer physiological withdrawal symptoms that can include jitters, sleeplessness, lack of concentration and irritability. This discomfort cause many to abandon their efforts to quit. Nicotine replacement therapy, which is available over the counter in several forms, can help quell the cravings for those who are committed to staying smoke free. The American Heart Association endorses the use of nicotine replacement therapy, saying it is safe for most people and much safer than smoking. Unlike cigarettes, nicotine itself does not contain carcinogens or the myriad of other chemicals that cause lung cancer, heart disease and other cardiovascular illnesses. Nicotine addiction keeps a person smoking, but nicotine itself is not the chemical that poses the health risks, according to the American Heart Association, "Nicotine Substitutes/Nicotine Replacement Therapy."

Types of Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy is available as a gum, lozenge, nasal spray, patch and inhaler. It is available at most drug stores over the counter to adults over 18.

Use the Products

The manufacturers of nicotine gum and lozenges recommend a 12-week course of therapy with a starting dose of about 10 pieces a day. It is also recommended that you gradually reduce the amount you use over time until you can eliminate your dependence on nicotine.

Is it Safe?

Manufacturers of nicotine replacement products and the American Heart Association recommend that you consult with a physician before using nicotine replacement therapies and that you refrain from smoking tobacco products. Side effects can include jaw and teeth problems, irregular heartbeat or palpitations, dizziness and nausea.

Does it Work?

For some, smoking is also psychologically addictive. Manufacturers of nicotine replacement products recommend that only those who are seriously committed to quitting use the replacement therapies and that they do so in conjunction with help from a support group, and that they make lifestyle and behavioral changes.


A box of 100 pieces of gum and lozenges can range from $35 to $55 depending on whether you choose the brand name or generics.

Risk of Addiction to Replacement Therapies

There is a risk that you will find it difficult to discontinue the use of the replacement therapies. However, Jacqueline Laidler, (B.A. Psychology), in an article titled "Perceptions of The Safety and Efficacy of Nicotine and Nicotine Replacement Therapy: A Literature Review," said nicotine replacement products enter your system more slowly than nicotine in tobacco products, making it easier to gradually overcome the addiction. And according to the American Heart Association, "Using NRT is always preferable to using tobacco products. If the choice is between an NRT product and a tobacco product, the person should keep using NRT."

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