Wondering why the prolonged use of nicotine gum is considered harmful for your health? We will shed light on its long-term effects on the human body to help you get a clear picture of the same.
Nicotine gum provides small doses of nicotine, which is absorbed through the mucous membranes in your mouth and helps you do away with the harmful habit of smoking tobacco. Its use as a part of nicotine replacement therapy has become quite popular over the last few years. Though it has less harmful effects compared to a cigarette, one cannot deny the fact that it ‘does’ have some harmful effects of its own.
Harmful Effects of Prolonged Use of Nicotine Gum
Other than short-term effects, like headache, jaw ache, and indigestion, there also exist long-term effects of chewing nicotine gum, which start surfacing when you use it as a part of the nicotine replacement therapy for a long period. Nicotine causes structural and chemical changes in the human brain, thus giving a momentary feeling of relaxation. In the long run, however, these changes can hamper various functions of the brain. Irrespective of whether you resort to smoking or nicotine gum, the long-term effects of nicotine on your brain and body are bound to be much more severe than its short-term effects.
A study on the health risks of nicotine gum at the University of London revealed that it increases the person’s chances of contracting oral cancer by a significant extent if it is used for an extended period. Being a vasoconstrictor, nicotine constricts the arteries and makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood to various parts of the body. This, in turn, results in a number of health problems including hypertension and coronary artery disease. Prolonged use of nicotine gum increases the chances of a person contracting gum disease, as nicotine constricts blood vessels in the gums as well. Similarly, it is also known to cause the throat muscles to constrict.
Those who use nicotine gum as a smoking cessation tool also suffer from mouth ulcers. Hair loss is yet another common problem in men and women who resort to this nicotine replacement product on a regular basis. Its long-term use is also known to result in insulin resistance, a condition wherein the ability of insulin to regulate glucose levels in blood is seriously hampered. This prompts the pancreas to release more insulin, which, in turn, results in hyperinsulinemia―a condition characterized by excess levels of insulin circulating in the blood. There also exist studies which reveal that the addiction to nicotine gum hampers our body’s healing mechanism, as a result of which wounds take time to heal.
A 2006 study involving around 77,000 pregnant women revealed that the use of nicotine gum during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy increases the chances of giving birth to a child with birth defects by 60 percent. Some studies also associate nicotine with health issues like stroke and esophageal reflux. Though many people claim that nicotine gum keeps a check on weight gain, studies have revealed that its use actually results in weight gain in the long run, and the short-term weight loss that is observed is actually attributed to smoking cessation.
When a person resorts to nicotine gum as a smoking cessation aid for a long time, the chances of him getting addicted to it increase dramatically. In such circumstances, abruptly stopping its use can trigger severe withdrawal symptoms on the body. If the manufacturers are to be believed, you are less likely to face the ill-effects of nicotine gum if you use it as directed. While that may be true, the idea of choosing one evil over another doesn’t really hold ground in the long run. After all, nicotine, regardless of whether it comes from a cigarette or gum, is harmful for our health.