People who are trying to quit smoking cigarettes use nicotine chewing gum. It is a substitute for oral activity and provides a source of nicotine that reduces the withdrawal symptoms experienced when smoking is stopped. However, some people who have successfully stopped their smoking habit are turning out to be addicted to the nicotine gum itself.
We don’t have to fully understand all the hazards that smoking cigarette brings just for us to realize that indeed we need to quit the habit. And those in the know say that cigarette smoke has over 4000 chemicals in it, 40 of which are known carcinogens. On top of that, at least 200 of those chemicals are flat out poisonous. Inhaling second hand smoke kills, that is why smokers are in greater risk of its hazardous effects because they breathe in both mainstream and sidestream smoke. And while cigarette smoke is worse than nicotine in itself, it does not discount the fact that nicotine is a harmful drug.
Long term use of nicotine may lead to cancer. It also affects how our bodies function by putting stress on the heart and increases blood pressure. According to the reports of The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, nicotine harms the linings of our arteries which leads to the build-up of plaque, thus, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Moreover, nicotine suppresses insulin output creating a hypoglycemic condition.
Nicotine chewing gum is a nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) product. It can be a perfect quit aid for some people as it already helped many thousands of people stop smoking successfully. It isn’t easy to quit from smoking and having a wide variety of quit aid options to get clear of this addiction ultimately means more lives saved.
However, some quitters are getting addicted to the nicotine chewing gums and lozenges that they find it hard to quit from the new habit.
NRTs are not intended for long-term use. It is not only expensive to maintain but the gum can also potentially stick to and damage dental work. Pregnant and nursing women, as well as people taking certain medications may also be advised against using nicotine products due to the side effects such as headaches, hiccups, sore jaw and hives.
Though chewing a couple of pieces of nicotine gum everyday is a much better choice over smoking a stick of cigarette, treat it the way you would a prescription drug. Use it as per instruction by your doctor and follow the product directions. Proper use can ease the discomforts of recovery from nicotine addiction. Everything in life has some level of risk. NRT’s are not excluded.
Be sure to wean yourself off of the product in the time period suggested. Remaining dependent on nicotine, regardless of the form it comes in, may lead to an increased risk of a smoking relapse. Moreover, as in the case with habit-forming drugs, tolerance will increase over time and so will the intake.
According to Lynn T. Kozlowski, Interim Dean of the School of Public Health and Health Professions at the University at Buffalo, “The problem is not that people use it too much. The greater problem is that they use it too little. People use it for a week, and then they are back to smoking cigarettes.”
Smoking cessation experts said that although nicotine therapy doubles a smoker’s chance of successfully kicking the habit, use of the products remains relatively low. Most people often find nicotine gums and lozenges having unpleasant taste. And the thought that nicotine is what makes cigarettes harmful also keep them from trying the gum.
The goals of most therapists is to get more people to try NRTs as an aid to help them kick the smoking habit. Although a few people may get hooked on the nicotine products, managing to stop smoking is a good sign that you can eliminate your dependence on the NRTs as well.
Susan Zafarlotfi, Clinical Director of the Breath and Lung Institute at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey said that once someone has stopped smoking, she tries to encourage patients hooked on nicotine gum to start substituting real gum from time to time. “You may get a placebo effect,” she noted.
Suffice it to say that nicotine is a poison, and that the human body is much better off without it, nevertheless, the shot of nicotine you get from the gum is definitely small in comparison to smoking.