You don’t need a prescription from your doctor to try to quit smoking. Although this is one of the most important things a person can do to improve his or her health, a doctor does not need to get involved with smoking cessation unless you can’t quit on your own.
Then he will gladly help you find the right solution. Have you tried OTC (over-the-counter) smoking cessation products available from your drug store? One of the most popular is nicotine gum.
A Top Choice
Many smokers try to quit smoking using gum. The most popular brand is Nicorette and it might be the only brand you can find. Not everyone who uses gum to quit smoking is successful and nicotine gum might be used in tandem with other methods, like the patch or hypnosis. There are a lot of advantages to starting with gum, though.
Advantages to Choosing Nicotine Gum
For one thing, you get a dose of nicotine: 2 mg or 4 mg per piece. This is one thing your body craves. Another thing your body wants is something for your mouth to do while a cigarette would have dangled between your lips.
If your jaw is working, you might not miss your usual smoke at lunch or while talking to parents on the phone. Start chewing nicotine gum and eventually this habit can evolve into gum chewing, generally: any type of gum that keeps you from cigarettes. You don’t get a dose of nicotine anymore but by this time, after a slow program of weaning, you might not need it anymore.
If you live in a country or region where tax relief or funding is available for smoking cessation products, nicotine gum might be one of their approved products. You would essentially chew for free or a highly reduced rate as an incentive to quit smoking and save the medical system millions of dollars.
How to Use Nicotine Gum
Experts recommend gum as a replacement for some of your daily cigarettes, perhaps not all; at least not at first. For irregular, infrequent cravings, nicotine gum might become a complete substitute. Regular, frequent smokers might only manage to replace a few cigarettes daily with gum until they are ready to make a bigger transition and start using nicotine gum as well as regular spearmint or fruit gum.
There is a method to chewing this product as well. Doctors, pharmacists, and manufacturers don’t recommend that you chew it like the real thing. They suggest taking a bite then stowing the gum away in a cheek like a squirrel and repeating this cycle several times until the gum has lost its potency and flavor. Chew as many pieces as you need through the course of the day. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or have a medical condition.
Drawbacks to gum include the potential for irritation. Nicotine, a natural pesticide, is an irritant when it comes into contact with your skin. As such, the toxicity of nicotine affects people in different ways.
It was never meant to be ingested, so it’s no surprise that some consumers report irritation in their mouths and stomach upset, including nausea or even vomiting. If chewing nicotine gum makes you vomit, either use less of it or stop chewing this substance entirely.
Nicotine gum doesn’t take effect right away. Although it’s touted as a replacement for nicotine cravings, experts also suggest popping a piece into your mouth before you crave a cigarette. This could make it difficult to lengthen the duration between pieces as you try to overcome cravings, but it’s practical advice. The best case scenario is that distractions will cause you to forget you would have wanted a cigarette half an hour ago leading to a natural increase in these intervals.
Nicotine gum also fails to replace the need for something to do with your hands, so combine chewing with knitting, sewing, baking, cooking, or playing computer games. Keep your hands busy.
If Gum Doesn’t Work
A lot of people are unsuccessful in their aim to quit smoking with gum, but there are alternatives. Doctors recommend patches as one option with their decreasing levels of nicotine to facilitate weaning. Lozenges release nicotine slowly but also cause oral and stomach irritation.
Cold turkey is tough going but could be your method to quit. It’s a commitment to short-term pain but successful individuals become ex-smokers in a matter of two weeks, not two months. Hypnosis is a disputed means of overcoming nicotine and cigarette cravings but no more so than any of the other methods listed. Hypnosis is safe and drug-free.