People often ask why they should use nicotine replacement to quit smoking? They want to quit nicotine, right?
It’s a good question, and the answer is important to understand when trying to stop smoking.
Nicotine, although it is the addictive substance in tobacco, is not the harmful substance. Rather, what is harmful are all the other components in tobacco and tobacco smoke. The 60 or more known carcinogens in tobacco and tobacco smoke are the culprits - not nicotine.
When smoking, you get a quick boost of nicotine delivered to the brain in 7-10 seconds. Your brain gets pretty used to this “jolt” – when you consider how often you take a drag on a cigarette in just one day.
However, when stopping smoking, and using nicotine replacement products (nicotine patch, nicotine gum, nicotine lozenge, nicotine inhaler, or nicotine nasal spray), you are still getting nicotine; but in much smaller amounts. Nicotine replacement medications do not deliver nicotine as rapidly or effectively as a cigarette, but they do lessen craving and alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
Many people are also not aware that they can use two or more of the nicotine replacement products at a time. In fact, it is suggested that you use a longer acting medication such as the nicotine patch, or a non-nicotine medication (bupropion or varenicline), which will cover most of your cravings and urges, and a short-acting nicotine replacement such as the nicotine gum, lozenge, nasal spray, or inhaler) for cravings, or trigger times. The goal is to help you stay away from tobacco. Nicotine replacement can help you get there. So think about using some of these medications and make 2011 your year to quit!