Nicotine replacement therapy means taking in nicotine in forms other than cigarettes – patches, gums, lozenges, inhalers, nasal sprays and gradually tapering off their use.
The nicotine replacement products offer nicotine much more slowly than cigarettes do. This is done by making it leach, either within the membranes of the mouth or across your skin. As a result, with these products, a strong surge of nicotine is missing.
Once the smoker begins using these products, he can resume his daily activities comfortably without cigarettes. Typically, a smoker will need the initial level of replacement products for several weeks. During this period, he will become accustomed to handling daily activities without cigarettes. After that, he can gradually cut back the levels ofreplacement products to zero amounts.
Five Nicotine Replacement Products for Smoking Cessation
– Nicotine gum is a substance that slowly releases nicotine when chewed or placed in between the cheek and gum. The gum gives you much lower amount of nicotine than a cigarette, at the same time reducing your cravings for cigarettes. The amount and frequency of gum you need to use varies from brand to brand. Nicotine gum is not for everyone.
– Nicotine patches are self-adhesive strips that contain nicotine. You have to apply one patch a day to your skin, which should be clean, non-hairy and dry. The patch releases small quantities of nicotine that is absorbed into your bloodstream through your skin. Put on the patch in the morning and take it off before sleeping – otherwise it can hamper your sleep. At first, you might need to use the highest strength – 21 mg. This is the typical dose if you were smoking 20 cigarettes a day. The two common side-effects with nicotine patches are local skin irritation and sleepdisturbance. Hydrocortisone cream can ease skin irritation. Sleep disturbance usually happens in people who use the patch for 24 hours, so use the patch for 16 hours only.
– Nicotine Lozenges are hard candies which dissolve and slowly release nicotine into the mouth. Each lozenge last for about half an hour. Generaly, you can use about nine lozenges a day during the first six weeks and then begin tapering off. Do not use lozenges beyond three months. The common side effects with lozenges are soreness of gums, throat irritation and stomach upset. Just like the side-effects of other nicotine replacement products, these side-effects donot last long.
– Nicotine Nasal Spray is a spray pump containing nicotine in an aerosolized form. The smoker sprays it into their nostrils and the nicotine is quickly absorbed into the nasal membranes. Unlike other replacement products, nicotine is absorbed very fast by this mode. The typcal dose of nicotine nasal spray is 5 times each hour or 40 times per day. Generally, you need to use your initial dose for a period for 8 weeks and then start to taper off over 4 to 6 weeks.The common side effects include nose and throat irritation, cough, sneezing, watery eyes. Most of these side effects disappear after 7 to 14 days.
– The Nicotine Inhaler or "the puffer" compacts a slender plastic cartridge containing a porous nicotine plug. When you puff on to the cartridge, nicotine vapors are absorbed through the lining of the mouth. A single cartridge can yield 400 nicotine vapor puffs. The vaporized nicotine will make its way into your throat. During the first 3 months of its use, you can use 6 to 16 cartridges a day and then begin reducing the number during the next 6 to 12 weeks. The advantage of an inhaler is that it matches the behavioral aspects of smoking. The side effects are irritation of the mouth's lining, runny nose, coughs and digestive problems.