Research shows that the most effective way to quit smoking is to first come up with a quit plan. This means making sure that you have adequate medical and moral support to combat all smoking cessation challenges. Your doctor, family, friends and/or support group will be key role players in determining the best method of smoking cessation treatment for you.
You will need to take into account your smoking triggers; things like being around people you habitually smoke with, for instance, or in places where you would normally smoke, which are likely to cause cravings. With the correct medical advice and support from loved ones you can be physically, mentally and emotionally prepared for these situations before you enter them.
Using a lozenge, gum, mouth spray or inhalator half an hour before you enter a habitual smoking scenario will help to reduce cravings upon arrival and increase your chances of quitting. Just like the nicotine patches discussed in last week’s article, nicotine lozenges, gums, mouth sprays and inhalators are nicotine replacements products which function by replacing some of the nicotine you would normally inhale from cigarettes. While nicotine replacement products may not completely eradicate cravings, they will reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. To double your chances of quitting for good, the use of these products or combination therapy (using nicotine patches in combination with another nicotine replacement product) is recommended. All of these products are readily available without a prescription from pharmacies and some supermarkets. However, if you suffer form any illness or take medication of any kind it is advisable to first discuss your suitability to nicotine replacement products with your doctor or pharmacist.
Using the lozenge
Lozenges come in strengths of 2mg and 4mg. For smokers beginning their quit journey, product information recommends starting on the stronger lozenge and switching to the lower dose several weeks later. Mini lozenges are also available in strengths of 1.5mg and 4mg for smokers who consume fewer cigarettes per day. The lozenge dissolves in your mouth over 20-30 minutes, which makes the release of nicotine much slower than it is in when a cigarette is smoked. This slow release of a reduced dose of nicotine makes the lozenge much less addictive than cigarettes while still helping to combat withdrawal symptoms such as cravings.
Using the gum
Like the lozenge, nicotine gum comes in strengths of 2mg and 4mg. Chewing the gum releases a small dose of nicotine which is absorbed into the blood through the lining in your mouth. The level of nicotine in your blood will peak 35-40 minutes after you begin chewing the gum, which makes it slower at easing cravings than smoking a cigarette. With this in mind, it is useful to begin chewing gum before you enter situations which would normally trigger cravings.
Using the mouth spray
The nicotine mouth spray should be sprayed under the tongue or onto the inside of the cheek, where it can easily absorb into the blood stream. Nicotine mouth spray can start to relieve cravings as quickly as 5 minutes after use, and with 1mg of nicotine per dose, it is much easier to stop using than cigarettes.
Using the inhalator
The inhalator is a good option for quitters who find the hand-to-mouth habit of smoking hard to kick. It is operated by lifting the inhalator to the mouth and inhaling nicotine (around 2mg) which is stored in a cartridge inside the device, mimicking the action made when smoking. Because the nicotine dose is much lower than in cigarettes, and is absorbed through the mouth rather than the lungs, the inhalator is slower to reduce cravings, but remains a safe and effective method for smoking cessation.
It is dangerous to smoke around any source of high dose oxygen. If you have been prescribed medical grade oxygen it is vital to never smoke near the oxygen source. Please ensure you speak to your doctor or specialist prior to using medical oxygen.