Everyone knows how addictive nicotine is. And if you’re a nicotine user who’s tried to quit, you probably know this better than most. If you’ve made the decision to try to quit using nicotine, congratulations! Your body will thank you later.
After making the decision to quit, the next decision is figuring out how to start the process of actually quitting. There five forms of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) approved by the Food and Drug Administration: nicotine patches, gum, nasal spray, inhalers and lozenges. Each of these therapies can help you quit, and they all work in different ways.
- Nicotine patches give you a measured dose of nicotine through your skin to help wean you off of nicotine. A variety of patches provide different doses of nicotine. The fact that you’re in charge of gradually lowering your dose based on your personal needs makes this a popular option.
- Nicotine gum is a fast-acting form of replacement that’s absorbed through the mucous membrane of the mouth. The gum comes in two different strengths—2 mg and 4 mg. The gum can be used as needed or on a fixed schedule throughout the day.
- Nicotine lozenges can be purchased without a prescription and are available in two strengths, like the gum—2 mg and 4 mg. The makers of lozenges recommend using them as part of a 12-week program.
Nicotine nasal spray delivers nicotine to the bloodstream quickly and will require a healthcare provider’s prescription. Find a Riverview Health Doctor >>
- Nicotine inhalers are also available only with a prescription. An inhaler is a plastic tube with a nicotine cartridge, which expels a pure nicotine vapor when puffed. The nicotine inhaler delivers most of the nicotine vapor to the mouth, not the lungs. The inhaler is the method that’s most similar to smoking a cigarette, which some users find helpful.
NRTs are shown to be an effective method to decrease tobacco usage and eventually quit. Always be sure to speak to a smoking cessation specialist or your healthcare provider about starting NRTs and carefully read all directions on the product.
For more support, learn about the free six-week Freedom from Smoking program at Riverview Health.