Nicotine Replacement Therapies

Nicotine Replacement Therapies

 Nicotine Replacement Therapies

Quitting smoking is difficult, and smokers often attempt to stop the harmful habit multiple times before achieving success. Some try to quit cold turkey while others use nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) to increase their chances of attaining their smoking cessation goals.

Since nicotine engenders dependence, when smokers try to quit, their bodies experience physical withdrawal, which can manifest itself in many ways, including intense cravings, sweating, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.

Furthermore, after many months or years of smoking, the act itself becomes habitual, causing smokers to experience equally severe psychological and emotional withdrawal when they can no longer partake in their daily rituals such as their morning smoke.

Traditional Nicotine Replacement Therapies:

Traditional over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies help appease the physical dependence symptoms by providing smokers with the nicotine they need in a less harmful way than smoking combustible cigarettes.

Nicotine Gum and Lozenges

Both nicotine gum and lozenges deliver nicotine through the mucous tissues inside the mouth. While they aid with the physical symptoms of withdrawal, they can also have side effects. Nicotine gum can result in an unpleasant taste and mouth sores while potential adverse effects of lozenges include nausea, coughing, heartburn, and headaches. Also, both options are usually only available in 2 mg or 4 mg strengths.

Nicotine Patches

Nicotine patches provide nicotine through the skin and are available in a wider range of nicotine strengths. However, they also come with a host of unpleasant side effects, including skin irritation, such as redness and itching, dizziness, nausea, muscle aches and stiffness, and sleep issues.

Despite the negative side effects, these NRTs can be a useful tool in reducing physical withdrawal symptoms. However, they don’t address the psychological issues, which can play a significant role in smoking cessation success.

Electronic Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes, on the other hand, address both the physical and psychological aspects. Instead of burning tobacco to release nicotine, e-cigs heat a nicotine-laced liquid to produce vapor that the user inhales. Not only do they deliver nicotine in a safer way than traditional cigarettes do, but they are also available in various nicotine concentrations, allowing the ex-smoker to start with a high nicotine strength, then transition to a medium or lower one when they are ready, gradually decreasing dependence on the substance.

While physical dependence makes quitting difficult, the psychological withdrawal that ex-smokers experience make it even harder to do so. E-cigs provide ex-smokers with the comforting hand-to-mouth action that mimics the act of smoking. With e-cigs, users don’t have to give up their daily smoke breaks and can still socialize with other smokers or vapers, making the transition easier and increasing the chance of successfully quitting combustible cigarettes.

Another advantage that e-cigs offer over traditional nicotine replacement therapies is that they are available in various flavors, including the classic tobacco and menthol flavors that smokers are used to. Vapers can enjoy delicious flavors in the nicotine level of their choice, and if they want to stop nicotine dependence altogether, they can vape nicotine-free when they are ready to take that step!

Have you tried any of these nicotine replacement therapies? Tell us which one(s) you prefer and why in the comments section below.

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