Understanding Nicotine Replacement Therapy: Unveiling the Scientific Insights
Are you still smoking?
Didn’t you tell me that you quit the last time we met?
Does that sound like a remark you made on a friend recently or heard from a friend? Well, we understand what is going on here!
Even if you decide to quit, it is not so easy to stay away from cigarettes or tobacco. Especially, if you are someone who has been trying to quit for quite some time now and failing at it again and again, then we definitely understand your struggle. Quitting addictive habits like smoking or consumption of gutka is not only about getting rid of a bad habit. Tobacco addiction is a complicated problem. It requires you to stay patient and stay committed for a long period of time. But thanks to the advancements in the medical industry, there are now tools available in the market that can help with tobacco cessation.
We are talking about Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
In this blog, we will introduce you to these reliable companions, what is the science behind them and how you can leverage them to get rid of tobacco addiction.
But before we do that, let’s first try to understand why is it really this difficult to quit smoking or consumption of gutka.
Quitting tobacco - what makes it really difficult?
Even when you know the harmful effects of tobacco consumption on your body and mind, and have made a strong resolve to quit smoking, you will still struggle a lot.
It is a full-fledged battle that involves fighting the physical dependency as well as the psychological triggers. While there are many societal and environmental reasons that also force us to smoke again and again, it is nicotine addiction that makes it difficult to quit smoking.
As you know tobacco contains many toxins and one of these toxins is nicotine. It is a highly addictive substance that manipulates our minds and makes our bodies crave it. When consumed, it tricks our brain into releasing the feel-good neurotransmitters - dopamine and serotonin - these transmitters make us instantly feel happy and relieved. They act as instant stress busters and make us feel a sense of relief. This makes us dependent on this feeling and we kind of keep on seeking this kick throughout the day. The more we smoke, the more our body craves for it. This is because, over a period of time, our body starts developing a nicotine tolerance and starts seeking more amounts to get the same rush. This leads to nicotine dependence.
When your body does not get nicotine, meaning that you stop smoking, it experiences many unpleasant nicotine withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, depression, moodiness, lack of concentration, sleeplessness and so on.
NRT - a powerful tool against nicotine addiction
Nicotine Replacement Therapy refers to replacing the consumption of nicotine through harmful sources like cigarettes or gutka. The idea is to give a controlled amount of nicotine to your body when you are trying to quit so that it does not experience severe nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
This happens through a wide range of medically approved products like nicotine gums, nicotine tablets. Nicotine patches, nicotine inhalers and so on. They come loaded with a certain amount of nicotine that you can put in your body in a controlled manner and manage your nicotine withdrawal symptoms without having to light any cigarette.
Benefits of NRT products are many, including:
Customization and flexible approach - the best part about NRT products is that they keep you in charge. You can customize your quitting plan as per your needs and requirements. They are available in various types and hence you have the freedom to choose the type that works best for you. This flexibility and customization gives you convenience and empowers you to be able to eventually quit. For instance, many people prefer using Nicotine Gums India because they are tasty and help with oral fixation as well, while other people prefer nicotine tablets or patches as they are more discreet.
It is important to note here that while there are many types of products available in the market, you should not just start with any without consulting a healthcare provider.
Enhances success rates in quitting smoking - there have been many studies around the world that have indicated the same thing - using NRT products significantly increases the likelihood of quitting. They act as supportive tools that help you navigate your way out of the smoking habit. They help you sail through by taking care of one of the biggest challenges associated with quitting smoking. While nicotine gums handle the nicotine cravings, you get time to tackle the other behavioral triggers in a relaxed manner.
Gradual reduction and lowered exposure to harmful chemicals - NRT products work on the principle of gradual reduction. This means that you start with a dose that suits and matches your requirements and eventually you switch to a lower dose. This means that you train your body to start functioning with a gradually lowering dose of nicotine without experiencing any withdrawal symptoms. This step-down approach keeps you in control.
Now that you understand the basics and benefits of using NRT products, allow us to walk you through the various popular types of products available in India:
Nicotine gums - They are one of the most popular types of NRT products that come in 2 doses - 2mg and 4mg. They are readily available. You can even buy the 2mg gum without a doctor's prescription. They are highly portable and can be used with ease.
Simply start chewing the gum slowly till you get the taste of nicotine. Pause chewing and place the gum between your teeth and gum for some time. Start chewing again once the taste of nicotine fades away. The gum will then release nicotine that will get absorbed into your body via your mouth lining. It is also interesting to note here that Ryze Gums are available in multiple interesting flavors as well. This makes them a reliable and tasty companion for tobacco cessation.
Nicotine Patches - A discreet way of managing nicotine cravings. They are useful for people who do not want to be on top of their nicotine craving throughout the day. You can put a fresh patch on your clean and dry skin every morning and it will then slowly release nicotine in your body through the skin. While they are completely safe some people might have some skin irritation if they have sensitive skin.
Nicotine tablets - just like nicotine gums, they are an oral form of NRT. But they are discreet as compared to the gums as you do not have to chew on them. Simply put a tablet in your mouth and let it dissolve slowly. The nicotine will get released into your body via the mouth’s lining.
Nicotine inhalers - they are a quick and rapid way to get a shot of nicotine. They need to be prescribed by a doctor. They work for people as they mimic the act of smoking to some extent. They deliver a nicotine vapor that is absorbed by the lungs. Some people do complain about coughing, runny nose or nausea after using them.
Nicotine nasal spray - This prescription-only nasal spray lets you squirt a quick burst of nicotine into your bloodstream directly through your nose. Some common side effects of nasal sprays are coughing, sneezing, and watery eyes.
While NRT products are absolutely safe to use, it is always recommended to consult your doctor. Additionally, if you have had a recent episode of heart stroke or heart attack, then you should also talk to your healthcare provider before getting started on any NRT product.
In the end, remember that NRT products are aids that help in smoking cessation. They should be used carefully and must not be abused. They are not alternatives to smoking, they are products that are designed to help you get rid of nicotine addiction in a scientifically proven manner.