Once you get used to smoking, it is almost impossible to quit the habit.
However, these are only typical cases.
This does not mean that there are no exceptions because the possibility of quitting smoking is up to your determination. And as science advances, you won't have to go through rehabilitation alone; there exists an aid called nicotine gum.
The question is: Does nicotine gum work?
We would say YES, scientifically. Nicotine gum has been proved to tackle the physical aspect of nicotine addiction and the medical aspect.
Still, have some doubts? Worry not, as we'll introduce and explain how nicotine gum works.
What is Nicotine Gum?
Chewing gum was first introduced by John Curtis thousands of years ago. From what we know and commonly use, gum comes with antiseptic properties to refresh our breath. And interestingly, it can also cause addiction like cigarettes, but harmless.
Know that, in the 1980s, scientists figured out a unique idea utilizing gum to rehab smoking addiction. And that was how nicotine gum was born. Nicotine gums are gums with a tiny amount of nicotine but without harmful substances normally found on cigarettes.
Nicotine gums can be bought over-the-counter, so a doctor's prescription isn't required. Also, they come in different flavors, just like normal gums: mint, fruity, cinnamon, etc. Regardless of the existence of many nicotine gum brands, effectiveness between them isn't significantly different, so it comes down to the flavor you prefer only.
You can find nicotine gum at almost every pharmacy around your dwelling place, supermarkets, and even online sites. Not to mention, it's an affordable solution to aid you in your quitting process. You won't have to worry that your rehabilitation process might cost more than your habit.
How Does Nicotine Gum Works?
Nicotine gum is one of nicotine replacement therapy, used widely and commonly as quit smoking aids.
But, how does nicotine gum work? Glad you've asked.
It delivers a dose of medicated nicotine orally into the body, substituting the nicotine you inhale from a cigarette or tobacco related products.
Researches have shown positive improvements from those who use nicotine gums as support on their rehabilitation processes. Yet, we must look back seriously on the root of adopting the smoking habit, since nicotine addiction is only the surface of the problems.
Once again, we strongly emphasize that this gum is an aid only. It won't cure or relieve you 100% from addiction if you don't tackle why you pick up the smoking habit.
Experts recommend that nicotine gums should be used together with psychological therapies regarding smoking.
Instructions and Doses
Nicotine gums come in two options: 2 mg nicotine and 4 mg nicotine.
You would choose one according to your situation, whether you are heavily addicted or just lightly into smoking. Using the right dose for the right circumstance will help you reduce smoking faster, so it's best to consult with a doctor or pharmacist.
Here is a quick guide so you might estimate your usage before going to the doctor. If your first cigarette is within the first 30 minutes of waking up, you'll start with the 4 mg - dose. Otherwise, 2 mg - dose is what you'll be prescribed.
For the initial six weeks, chew a piece every 1 to 2 hours. The next three weeks will be once every 2 to 4 hours. In the last three weeks, your dose will lower to a gum every 4 to hours. As you slowly reduce the amount, you will end the nicotine gum therapy in roughly three months.
A small tip for lowering your gum usage is to try your best to slowly lessen the amount of chewing, from 30 minutes down to 20, then keep going until you don't need it. In case you have trouble craving nicotine gums after a three-month duration, contact your doctor.
As the name mentioned, it's chewing gum, but with extra nicotine.
You chew it in your mouth and don't swallow it. It would help if you treated it similar to medicine, meaning follow the directions on the label or your doctor’s prescription. However, using nicotine gum might require tricky techniques to get the most out of it.
You had better start chewing the gum slowly until you feel a mild tingling sensation at the tip of your tongue. Then, push it under your tongue or to the cheek side, waiting for the tingling feel to cease. Once it stops, chew again. Repeat this technique till the flavor disappears, which is around 30 minutes. We call this the "Park and Chew."
A quick note is that don't chew the gum quickly like normal gum, or else the nicotine gum would be useless. It's also essential to wait roughly 10-15 minutes after eating or drinking since using nicotine gum right after that might interfere with the effects.
Why is Nicotine Gum Helpful for People to Quit Smoking?
Why is nicotine gum helpful when what it does is provide nicotine like tobacco?
First of all, the nicotine substance inside nicotine gum is less harmful, as mentioned. Secondly, craves for nicotine will arise suddenly since you are familiar with a certain amount of cigarettes per day. This is where nicotine gum fills in: to ease your addiction.
Besides easing the addiction symptoms such as frustration, anxiety, and trouble focusing, nicotine gum provides a satisfying sensation orally. It is the missing feeling you often sense because you quit smoking. The act of chewing distracts your craves, assists you in the battle to withdraw from nicotine.
By utilizing a substitute, the process of rehabbing becomes smoother and less painful. Yet, you are still supplying your body nicotine. Using nicotine gum without effort to reduce the amount won't do any good, as you can't escape the physical addiction.
Cautions When Using Nicotine Gums
Since it's an over-the-counter product, nicotine gum is often used carelessly. We still recommend coming to a doctor or pharmacist for advice. So, what should you tell them to avoid unwanted effects best?
- 1Any medications, nutrition supplements, herbal products you're using or planning to use, especially insulin, medicines for other illnesses or circumstances such as depression, high blood pressure, etc. cannot ignore.
- 2Don’t forget to mention your age, diet, and past plus current pathology. If you have had a heart attack, tell the doctors if you have had diabetes, tell them as well. Don't hesitate so the professional can help you.
- 3Pregnancy: Nicotine has certain effects on mom having children, about to have children, and breast-feeding children, so this is a must.
- 4Any other nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) you're under currently to avoid an overdose.
One last thing to remind you: Keep these gums out of children's reach.
Due to its appearance similar to commercial gums, children might mistakenly consume them and risk nicotine poisoning. In case this happens, seek a doctor or anyone with medical knowledge ASAP for help.
2. Side Effects
If you happen to encounter these effects, contact your doctor ASAP:
While being a "healthier" substitute for common nicotine from tobacco, nicotine gum does come with a few side effects you should know in advance:
They happen since you're experiencing a cut down on nicotine. In case these side effects last longer than usual, stop using the therapy and call your doctor for consultation.
3. Turning Into Nicotine Gum Addiction
This happens all the time since people misconceive that nicotine gum is "healthy." Abusing this aid and your addiction won't come to an end: You only move from addicting to a cigarette addiction to nicotine gums. Regardless of how less harmful the substitute is, nicotine input into the body results in no good.
If you're prescribed the 4 mg initially, put all efforts to lessen the dose to 2 mg after 4-6 weeks. The more you chew, the more nicotine the gum releases, so learn to reduce the chewing frequency per usage as well.
A trick is sometimes you can trade in commercial chewing gum to fool your mind. Do this more regularly as you process to the end of the treatment.
As scientists have certified, nicotine gum is an effective aid to your quit-smoking journey. The nicotine inside the product is medicated, so you're ensured that you won't experience harmful risks than normal cigarettes during the withdrawal procedure.
Effective as it is, nicotine gum is somewhat addictive and shouldn't be overused. It would be best if you only used nicotine gums to lower the smoking habit over time until the rehabilitation ends, and there is no longer the need for nicotine.
So, does nicotine gum work? The gum is not a magical medicine; therefore, don't expect miracles from it.
The secret of completely giving up on smoking is your determination, not the medical products since they only tackle the physical symptoms.
Only with time, patience, and efforts can help you end this addiction to tobacco.
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