Nicotine replacement therapies or NRTs help lessen the nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms by delivering nicotine directly into your system. Generally, NRT products contain around 33% to 50% of nicotine found in cigarettes.
Nicotine found in tobacco smoke increases the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which results to nicotine dependence among smokers. When you quit smoking, the level of these hormones drastically drops, resulting to variety of withdrawal symptoms like moodiness, headaches, and hunger. The more it becomes difficult for you to give up tobacco use.
Nicotine from NRT products reduces these symptoms by increasing the levels of norepinephrine and dopamine similar to the effect of nicotine found in tobacco smoke. The smoker temporarily receives nicotine without smoking. You can use NRTs in diminishing amounts until such time you can do without it and can fully recover from nicotine addiction.
Unlike when you puff cigarette smoke, NRT products deliver nicotine in your body in a much slower phase. This is the reason why it is more unlikely that you develop nicotine dependence compared to other tobacco products.
Below are the top 4 NRT products used for nicotine cessation therapies and their respective advantages and disadvantages:
1. Nicotine Patches
Nicotine patches are the most popular smoking cessation single treatment. Nicotine patches or simply patches are very easy to use. You just place it on your arm and the nicotine is delivered through your skin. It is also contains different levels of nicotine, which of course allows you to choose the right amount of nicotine suitable for your case. However, the problem with patches is that not anyone can use them. People with skin allergies, those below 18 years old, and those who are pregnant are discouraged and prohibited to use patches as NRT.
2. Nicotine Gums
Nicotine gums are very easy to find and are most available NRT. It is an over-the-counter product which you can buy any drug store in your area. It is chewed like any other ordinary gum, but the big difference is it gives off a peppery taste. Nicotine gums are usually used during the first three months after quitting, however, in some cases may last until half a year. You can use it as desired or as needed in your program. You can also easily control the amount of your nicotine intake. Like patches it is also available in varying amounts of nicotine. However, you should note that nicotine gums carry with some side effects like faster heartbeat, damaged dentures, mouth and throat irritation, hiccups, and discomfort in the jaws.
3. Nicotine Lozenges
Nicotine lozenges are like candies. It easily melts in your tongue and quickly delivers nicotine as it dissolves. The nicotine is delivered through your mouth’s lining, the reason why nicotine is quickly absorbed by your body compared to other NRT products. Smokers can choose the dosage of nicotine they need, depending on the length of time they had the first cigarette after waking up in the morning. However, Lozenges may cause indigestion and heartburns. In some cases a person may experience insomnia, nausea, headaches, and hiccups.
4. Nicotine Nasal Sprays
Some smokers may have a preference on nicotine nasal sprays over other NRT products because they find it much easier to use. However, like patches, not everyone can use it. Physicians may not advise or discourage its use to people with allergies, sinus problems, or have asthmas.