There are multiple aspects to stopping smoking including developing the motivation to make a quit attempt, changing habits, managing withdrawal symptoms, finding other ways to handle emotions, and keeping your mind occupied on things other than smoking. Medications can make a positive difference in many of these aspects of stopping smoking and can increase your chances of success. Today I am going to focus on the five nicotine medications, also called nicotine replacement therapy or NRT.
When using any medication it is important to speak with a qualified professional, such as your primary care provider, in order to identify what will be best for you.
Many times people struggle with lots of parts of stopping tobacco, and they frequently overlook the fact that they may not be using the correct dose of nicotine replacement.
I have observed people struggling who are losing their confidence to quit, are starting to feel like maybe they just aren’t ready to quit, or who think that they might be on too high of a dose of nicotine replacement because they feel “off”. Use the nicotine patch as your 24 hour coverage and use one of the short acting nicotine medications (gum, lozenge, inhaler, or nasal spray) for controlling withdrawal symptoms.
Smokers, and particularly heavy or strongly addicted smokers, might actually need higher doses of nicotine rather than lower doses. When you have smoked for many years, you have had a lot of time knowing when and how much to smoke. You recognize feelings of when it is time to smoke, when you need multiple cigarettes to get the needed amount, and when you’ve had enough.
When you begin using nicotine replacement, the experience is very different than the experience of smoking. Nicotine replacement delivers nicotine in a very different way. It may take a while to get used to what the right dose for you feels like. You have come this far, stick with it, and with the help of your care provider find the dose that is right for you.