The use of nicotine gum is widespread as part of the Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) regimen. Ideally, the users of nicotine gum are individuals who have a nicotine addiction. When you have an addiction to nicotine, the inferred meaning is that you may be an ardent smoker and the effects of smoking have started to take a toll on your physical and mental health. However, can you become addicted to the nicotine gum?
Smoking, for addicted smokers, happens more often than one would want, and is usually very difficult to quit once you are addicted, the next viable idea is to seek out a way to slowly taper off smoking in order to get one’s life back.
Smoking addiction is extremely rampant, especially in countries such as the United States with a record of about 40 million adult smokers, and 4.7 million high and middle school students who have engaged in smoking. With an annual budget of $170 billion on healthcare related to smoking, it is easy to see that nicotine addiction has presented a surplus amount of difficulties in the system.
Those who are able to seek medical help for nicotine addiction are usually started off on various forms of nicotine replacement therapies which may include: nasal spray, patch, nicotine gum, lozenges, inhalers, and others.
The goal behind administering NRT is to mitigate the craving for nicotine by providing the addict with a regimen that supplies them with regulated portions of nicotine to counter withdrawal symptoms. As a result, NRT is one of the first lines of action for individuals who are addicted to nicotine.
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What is Nicotine Gum?
Nicotine gum is one of the most convenient NRT. It is a medicated over-the-counter chewing gum that contains nicotine. It is slowly and methodically chewed to release small amounts of nicotine into the system to replace the nicotine portions that are usually gotten from smoking cigarettes.
Why dump cigarettes and choose nicotine gums in the first place? Cigarettes are made from tobacco which contains a ton of harmful chemicals. Some of the contents in a cigarette include nicotine, naphthalene, phenols, formaldehyde, benzene, acetone, methane, ammonia, carbon monoxide, and other components that are toxic to health and addictive.
Nicotine is the primary substance in tobacco that causes addiction to tobacco-cigarettes. Quitting nicotine addiction is quite challenging as the brain has adjusted to the chemicals, which has become necessary for boosting mood and enhancing concentration. Depriving the system of the constant supply of the nicotine that it has become accustomed to, usually leads to symptoms such as:
- Intense nicotine cravings
- Abdominal cramps
- Tingling hands and feet
- Sore throat
- Weight fluctuation
- Lack of concentration
These symptoms usually peak within the first 2-3 days. What causes such high-level cravings? They are caused by specific nicotine receptors in the brain. These receptors have increased in production in response to your regular smoking habits so when the smoking stops, it leaves the brain stranded with these chemical receptors of which their presence begins to have negative effects in the entire body.
Using nicotine gum is just as effective as using other NRT products such as patches, lozenges, and others. The advantage of the nicotine gum is that it is quick-acting and well suited to individuals who often have sudden cravings and require immediate relief from withdrawal symptoms.
It is important to discuss the use of nicotine gum as a suitable NRT product with a medical professional before you start using them. This is necessary to ensure that there are no underlying health issues that may cause complications with the product. Endeavor to inform your physician about any health condition or medication that you may be on, including non-prescription drugs such as supplements.
Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding are advised to seek medical advice before using nicotine gum to be absolutely sure that there wouldn’t be any adverse effect on the baby.
How do you Use Nicotine Gum?
Nicotine gum is not a regular gum that can be used by just anyone, even though the product is easily accessible to non-smokers as well. The product comes in two strengths so the nicotine strength that is recommended to a person would depend on the average number of cigarettes that they are used to consuming in one day.
If you are in the category of persons that smoke less than 25 sticks of cigarettes per day then a 2mg nicotine gum is ideal for you. Individuals that smoke as much as 25 sticks or more per day may go for the 4mg nicotine gum.
Wait 15 minutes after a meal or a snack/drink before using the gum. There is a simple methodology for chewing the nicotine gum. Here are the steps to chewing nicotine gum the effective and right way:
1. Chew slowly at first
2. Once you feel a peppery or tingly sensation stop chewing
3. Lodge the product between cheeks and gun to allow nicotine flavor to be ingested slowly
4. Start slow chew again when the peppery taste fades
You can repeat this step until the taste is worn out completely and the chew no longer releases a peppery sensation. This process may take as much as 30 minutes or more. How often should you chew the nicotine gum? You may chew as often as you need it; specifically one piece of nicotine gum hourly. This is done in a bid to reduce the effects of nicotine craving and not for leisure. The aim of using the gum is as a smoking cessation regimen and there is a limit to how much gum you can chew daily; 24 pieces per day should not be exceeded.
How Long should you use Nicotine Gum?
The gum is an alternative to smoking cigarettes and it is found to be very effective in managing addiction to nicotine. The gum may provide relief from the withdrawal effects but it shouldn’t be used indefinitely. It should serve as a way to taper off nicotine and not for long-term use. This means that usage of the product also has to reduce over time. Here’s how to wean yourself off the nicotine gum:
- Week 1 to 6 of use: chew a piece every 1-2 hours
- Week 7 to 9 of use: chew one piece every 2-4 hours
- Week 10 to 12: chew a piece every 4-8 hours
If the effects of withdrawal still persist after the 12th week, seek help from a medical professional.
Can you become addicted to the gum?
Nicotine has the potential to cause addiction; therefore, it is possible that non-smokers can get addicted to nicotine gum if used frequently. However, there is no published report to buttress the occurrence of such a case. According to reports, the prevalence of dependency on nicotine gum is negligible, however, the risks are still very significant.
As a nicotine addict who uses the nicotine gum, there are a few tips to avoid getting addicted to the gum:
- If you started with a 4mg nicotine gum, try to taper off to 2mg as you work your way through
- Try to reduce the need to chew the gum, because the more often you chew, the more nicotine is released
- Sometimes switch nicotine gum with regular gum to condition yourself mentally
If you notice any side effects while using the nicotine gum, stop using immediately, and consult a medical doctor.