Nicotine gums can be helpful for quitting smoking. It helps in managing the nicotine withdrawal symptoms to a great extent. By chewing these gums your body gets the nicotine without the smoke, and hence naturally it helps in controlling the withdrawal symptoms like irritability, lack of focus, headache and others. However, there is no confirmation that using nicotine gums will abolish the withdrawal symptoms completely, but they can actually reduce the severity of the symptoms.
If you have tried to quit smoking before, but have failed because you were not able to deal with the withdrawal process, nicotine gums can help you to quit it. However, you always have to keep in mind that the gum itself is not good for you either and moreover, it can be habit forming. So, while trying to quit one addiction, you should not fall prey to another new addiction.
While using nicotine gums in the right way can be actually helpful to quit smoking, it can make you a slave to a new habit that is not good for you. If you are able to use the nicotine gums in the right way, it can surely help you quit smoking, without having to go through the severe withdrawal symptoms. So, to make the best use of these gums, use it along with other therapies like meditation and staying away from triggers. Also make it a point to reduce the number of the gums taken daily over a span of time to ensure that you do not get the new addiction.
The basics about nicotine gums
Nicotine gums were first introduced in 1980s as prescription medication to help people trying to quit smoking but not able to deal with the withdrawal symptoms. However, though these gums are now available over the counter, they should be treated only as medications to help in quitting smoking and not as normal gums.
Chewing any type of gums help in secretion of more saliva and can be an effective way to keep you engaged when you are feeling like smoking, helping you to control the urge. Hence by combining this ability of gums with nicotine, the nicotine gums were formulated to help people trying to quit smoking but failing to control the urge.
These gums are usually a bit bigger in size than the normal gums and they come packaged in foils, just like the normal medications. The gums are very hard compared to the normal gums and the difference in taste is sure to be evident as soon as you take it in the mouth. Each of the gums contains 2 or 4 mg of nicotine, which is equal to the nicotine you get from 1 or 2 cigarettes and hence it is not good for your body either.
Using the nicotine gum in the right way is the key to get the benefits. If you are not able to follow it the right way, it is better to not to use these gums as in that case they can do more harm than good. Here is how to use nicotine gums for quitting smoking,
How to chew nicotine gums for quitting smoking
Do never chew a nicotine gum just the way you chew a normal gum. If you chew it like a normal gum, all the nicotine will be released in your saliva at once and swallowing the nicotine filled saliva can result into extreme stomach pain and will also aggravate your cravings for cigarette. The right way to chew nicotine gum is,
- Take the gum in your mouth and chew it just for a few times. This will breakdown the outer covering and you will feel a tingling sensation or a peppery taste that you can clearly distinguish.
- Once you get the taste, do not chew the gum any more. Park it between your gum and cheek. The nicotine in the gum will be slowly absorbed into your body through the lining of the mouth and will reach your brain within moments.
- After sometime the tingling sensation or the peppery taste on your tongue will subside, and then you can again take it back and chew it a few times before parking it back again between your cheek and gum.
- Continue this, chewing and resting process for 20 to 30 minutes for a single gum. By then all the nicotine present in the gum should have been absorbed into your blood stream and you can discard the gum.
Another important thing that you have to keep in mind when you are using nicotine gums is that, eating or drinking some particular items can affect the absorbance of the nicotine into the body. Avoid any food or drinks that are even mildly acidic for at least 15 minutes before taking a gum. Some of the common acidic drinks for which you should keep an eye include coffee, tea, soft drinks and even fruit juices. Also make it a point to not to eat or drink anything while the gum is in your mouth.
While chewing the nicotine gum in the right way is really important, maintaining the right amount of the gum to be taken is also vital.
The right dosage of nicotine gum
People who are habituated with smoking more number of cigarettes in a day need to have the gum with higher nicotine amount. People smoking over 25 cigarettes a day should use the 4mg nicotine gum variant, while people with the habit of smoking 24 or less cigarettes everyday should settle for the 2mg formulation of the same. Each of the gums is considered as one dose, and during a 24 hour day you should not take more than 24 of these gums, under any circumstances.
If you are starting with 24 pieces of nicotine gums each day it is important that you start reducing the amount of it by increasing the time spacing between two gums as soon as you complete the first week. In case, it seems to be very difficult to control the urge, give yourself some more time and make the process really slow, but you should taper the dosage to a significant level as soon as you complete the first or the first two months. It is not safe to use nicotine gums for longer than a year and hence you have to plan how you will be reducing the number of gums slowly within minimum time span.
While chewing nicotine gums can be helpful to quit smoking, it does not come without any cons. Here are some of the pros and cons of these gums, so that you can make an informed choice,
Pros of nicotine gums
- When a user is on nicotine gums, the dosage is fully controlled by the user which makes it more comfortable for the user to adjust the frequency and dosage of the gums according to requirements, staying within the limitations.
- While chewing the nicotine gum the nicotine is very quickly absorbed into the body, giving quick relief, which can be helpful for any one fighting to quit smoking.
- When used in the right way it can be actually quite helpful to quit smoking.
Cons of nicotine gums
- In case you use the gum in an improper way it is sure to increase your urge for smoking, which can be really difficult to resist.
- There is every chance to get hooked up on the gum itself. According to studies, around 15 to 20% smokers who start taking these gums to quit smoking, get addicted to the gum and continue using it even after a year, which can harm the body in similar way as smoking.
- Nicotine gums are not at all suitable for pregnant women and if you are under any medication make it a point to ask your doctor first before starting with these gums.
Side effects of nicotine gums
Nicotine gums can have side effects if not used in a controlled manner. Chewing the gum too fast or chewing one just after another can increase the chance of the side effects. However, by taking it in the right way, you can avoid the side effects all together. Some of the common side effects that may appear due to improper use of these gums include,
- Skin allergies
- Blister in mouth
If you start observing any of these symptoms after using nicotine gum, contact your doctor immediately.
Never use nicotine gums when you are still smoking, as it can increase the amount of nicotine in your body to a high level, resulting into nicotine poisoning which can be dangerous. So, start with nicotine gums only after you have stopped smoking and make sure that you do not get addicted to the gum itself.