There are more stop-smoking aids out there than you could possibly keep track of. Gum, lozenges, nasal sprays, inhalers, patches – how are you supposed to know what’s right for you, or if any of them even work? Some are more effective than others, some are more expensive than others, and some might have side effects that you need to be careful about. Here’s a brief guide on choosing what will work for you.
First of all, no matter what medication you choose, it’s always going to be more effective with counseling or a support group. Do you have a friend or family member who quit smoking? Ask them how they did it. Spend time with people who will help you succeed, and if necessary, cut loose those who won’t. If you want to grow your support group, smokefree.gov, an initiative from the National Cancer Institute, has Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest pages where you can connect with other people trying to quit smoking. Not only will you find encouragement and support, you might learn some methods to quit that you hadn’t thought of.
On to the medications – nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can reduce withdrawal symptoms by giving you a small, controlled amount of nicotine without any of the harmful chemicals present in cigarettes. Some studies have shown that it can nearly double your chances of quitting. While NRT will help with withdrawal and cravings, you’re still going to have some urge to smoke, so combining it with other therapies is the most effective way to do it. You should begin NRT as soon as you quit smoking, to stave off the worst of the withdrawal symptoms.
Nicotine replacement therapies come in the form of gum, inhales, lozenges, nasal sprays, and skin patches. The patch is placed directly on your skin and releases a low, steady amount of nicotine over time. It can sometimes cause skin irritation, dizziness, headache, nausea, racing heartbeat, muscle pain or stiffness, or problems sleeping. The gum delivers nicotine directly through the mucous membranes in your mouth when you chew it. It might cause irritation to your mouth or throat, a bad aftertaste, nausea, jaw pain, and a racing heartbeat. Lozenges dissolve like hard candies, so you get the nicotine slowly. Possible side effects include coughing, gas, heartburn, trouble sleeping, nausea, hiccups, and racing heartbeat. Nicotine inhalers are available by prescription only. They can cause irritation to the mouth and throat, a runny nose, and nausea. The nasal spray is also prescription-only, and it gives you a quick burst of nicotine into your bloodstream. It can cause irritation to your nose or throat, coughing, watery eyes, and sneezing.
You shouldn’t use nicotine replacement if you’re in your teens, pregnant, or still using a tobacco product. Although it’s not common, nicotine overdoses can happen.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.