The use of nicotine gum is a part of nicotine replacement therapy. Its use is suggested to prevent nicotine withdrawal symptoms that occur when habitual smokers quit smoking. The following article provides information on the effects of this therapy.
There’s no denying the fact that giving up the habit of smoking is a very difficult task. Taking into account the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that occur, the better alternative would be to use nicotine gum to gradually reduce the nicotine supply. When a person smokes cigarettes, he/she is exposed to nicotine along with many harmful chemicals. On the other hand, the gum contains only nicotine. Though the prolonged use of this gum can cause adverse effects, it is a good option as it allows only small doses of nicotine, which are absorbed through the mucous membranes in the mouth to the bloodstream.
How Does it Work?
The use of nicotine for quitting smoking is known as Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). A single unit of gum contains 2 to 4 mg of nicotine, which is almost the same amount that a cigarette contains. Taking a single unit every 2 hours can help the user overcome the cravings. In the first couple of months, one can take around 9 pieces daily. Thereafter, the dosage should be reduced gradually to one piece after every 4 to 8 hours. The use of gum causes the same effect on the body as cigarettes do, but the person is not exposed to all the other harmful chemicals in cigarettes. The effect of nicotine is experienced when it starts getting absorbed by the bloodstream.
The use of the gum is generally recommended for a period of three months. However, the nicotine kick gets the better of most, and there’s the risk of the user getting addicted to it. The fact that these are easily available over-the-counter further increases the possibility of addiction.
It is true that this nicotine replacement therapy works for most people, but the possibility of becoming addicted to the gum itself cannot be ruled out. When a person gets addicted to the gum, he/she is exposed to certain health risks, which is why, this gum should not be considered or used as a lifetime replacement for cigarettes. It has to be abandoned when its purpose of helping the person quit smoking is fulfilled. The most common side effects that may occur because of an overdose include:
- Increased heart rate
- Cold sweats
- Mouth sores
- Pain in the jaw
- Frequent headaches
- High blood pressure
- Plaque in arteries
- Heart attack
- Rapid heart rate
If the user becomes addicted to the gum, he/she would experience an increased craving for the same. The only way to keep yourself from getting addicted is to keep a conscious check on the amount of gum you chew in a day. The manufacturers mention the amount to be taken in a day on the packets. So, follow the instruction, and also try to lessen the amount gradually, before you discontinue its use. It would be a good idea to replace the gum with mint gum. If at any time, you feel that you are getting addicted to the gum, it would be best to seek medical help.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.