Nicotine replacement therapy or NRT is a popular quit smoking method that involves using small doses of nicotine to reduce the need for cigarettes. With NRT, a smoker can get enough nicotine to satisfy his or her cravings without having to breathe in the other toxic compounds present in tobacco. While many have successfully quit using nicotine replacement therapy, there are some important things you should know if you plan to use it to quit smoking today.
1. Ask your doctor.
NRT is not for everybody. If you are pregnant, undergoing medication, or has a serious health problem, you may need to secure medical advice from your doctor. During your checkup, your doctor will assess whether NRT is the best smoking cessation treatment for you. He or she will also inform you how the treatment works, its limitations, and the potential side effects you may experience while using it.
2. Identify what NRT type is best suited for you.
Nicotine replacement therapy comes in different forms, such as the nicotine gum, patch, and inhaler. Although they have the same purpose, you may want to consider the NRT form that you find most convenient to use.
3. Set a quit date.
When quitting smoking, you need to have a goal – a specific date when you will not be puffing cigarettes anymore but instead, undergoing NRT. Some people choose to stop smoking at the end of a day and then start with NRT the next day. Because you still have a source of nicotine, it is unlikely that you will crave for cigarettes. Most probably, you’ll just miss the sensation of having a cigarette in your mouth, but that would be all. Other people prefer to cut down their cigarette consumption gradually while undergoing NRT.
4. Make sure you use an adequate amount of nicotine.
Your doctor will tell you the best dosage of nicotine that is most appropriate for you. It depends on your nicotine consumption. If you consume one pack of cigarettes per day, you must have high tolerance for nicotine, which means you will need a higher dosage. Use nicotine for at least 8 to 12 weeks for a higher chance of successfully quitting for a longer period.
5. Report any undesirable side effect to your doctor.
Not all people who use NRT to quit smoking experience the side effects of the drug. But if you suspect that NRT is causing unwanted effects to your body, consult your doctor right away. Side effects of NRT are categorized into two – mild and severe. Mild side effects include headache, digestive problem, and sleepiness which are often tolerable. But it can have major side effects too, including fatigue, nausea or dizziness, insomnia and skin rash.
Using nicotine replacement therapy can be an effective way to quit smoking today. However, you must equip yourself with the knowledge about the product to maximize its benefits.
Have you tried using NRT to quit? What were the challenges you encountered while using the product? Share your comment below.