As the name goes, nicotine gum is similar to regular chewing gum, except that it is based on nicotine. It is basically formulated for chronic smokers and serves as a smoking deterrent. In other words, this chewy gum is developed with an objective to provide nicotine in controlled amounts to the body. Other than this, there is more to learn about it, and every prospective user should know about the basic nicotine gum facts before using it in the nicotine replacement therapy.
Facts about Nicotine Gum
Every year, many smokers die due to health reasons caused by cigarette smoking. In the United States, the rate of morbidity related to smoking effects is 1 out of every 5 deaths. Indeed, finding out effective ways to quit smoking has become a subject of interest for the global population. For chain smokers, the major concern faced with smoking cessation is a range of withdrawal effects. One product which is touted as an aid to combat these effects and help quit smoking is nicotine gum.
Mode of Nicotine Delivery
As aforementioned, use of nicotine gum is aimed at giving low amounts of nicotine, so that the quitter will have an easier time in abstaining from smoking with lesser cravings and associated withdrawal symptoms. When this gum is chewed, the enzymes present in saliva dissolve nicotine, which is then absorbed by cells in the mucous lining of the mouth. Finally, nicotine is released into the bloodstream.
How to Use Nicotine Gum?
Do not ingest anything for 15 minutes prior to chewing nicotine gum. First, the gum is placed in mouth and chewed slowly. After about 2 bites, it gives a tingling sensation inside mouth, which indicates release of nicotine. At this time, stop chewing the gum and retain it between the gum and cheek. As the sensation decreases in intensity, chew it till tingling starts. Then, stop chewing and place it again in between the cheek and gum. The chewing period for one gum piece is about 30 minutes.
Nicotine Gum Dosage
In the first few days, nicotine gum is chewed at regular intervals, say one gum (2-4 mg nicotine) after every 1-2 hours. This overcomes the cravings for cigarette smoking. The approximate number of gum consumed per day is about 9 pieces for the first 1½ months. As this stipulated period is completed, the number of gum pieces or dosage of nicotine gum should be tapered gradually to one piece after every 4-8 hours.
Does Nicotine Gum Work?
It is a very tricky question, and the answer is both 'yes' and 'no'. In case, a smoker is interested in smoking cessation, then chewing nicotine gum does help in reducing the withdrawal effects and stopping the smoking habit. But, if the question is about treating nicotine addiction, the answer is strictly 'no'. By using this gum, the body still gets nicotine in lower amounts and the user continues to be addicted to nicotine drug just like before.
Nicotine Gum Addiction
No one needs a reminder that nicotine is one of the most addictive compounds known to us. So, getting addicted to nicotine gum is not an unusual case. To make the nicotine replacement therapy work, use of this gum is limited to 12 weeks (or 3 months) and not more than that. But, participants in the therapy get addicted to nicotine gum over time, and abstaining from it becomes a challenge.
Dealing with Nicotine Gum Addiction
A quitter experiences withdrawal symptoms upon stopping it suddenly. They include change in appetite, loss of concentration, cravings, sleep problem, irritability and weight gain. To avoid such cases, the doctor will recommend reduced intake of dose for a certain period. Replacing nicotine gum with mint-flavored chewing gum may be suggested for the quitter.
Nicotine Gum Side Effects
For any therapeutic formulation, correct use is the key trick to achieve satisfactory results. Quitters are expected to use the gum in a proper way. When taken by a pregnant woman or a breastfeeding mother, it can cause adverse effects to the baby. General side effects of chewing nicotine gum are jaw ache, unusual taste in mouth, throat soreness and nauseated feeling.
Nicotine Gum Warnings
This nicotine based product is not at all recommended for people who continue to use tobacco in any form, like smoking, chewing or snuffing. Those who have a medical history of heart and cardiovascular conditions should consult the doctor before actually using nicotine gum for smoking cessation. The same prerequisite is applicable for people, who are allergic to ingredients used in the nicotine based chewing gum.
This was all about nicotine gum facts and information. To conclude, using nicotine gum is considered a better alternative to smoking cigarettes from the health perspective, though both deliver nicotine to the body and cause addictive effects. This is because, when a chain smoker chews this product to quit cigarette smoking, he/she is not exposed to the hazardous effects of 4000 or more chemicals and tar, inhaled at the time of smoking. However, if there are no signs of improvement after using nicotine gum, consult the doctor and seek medical advice regarding the therapy.