The nicotine patch has an upper hand over the nicotine gum when it comes to dealing with the temptation of smoking. The patch is found to be better at helping individuals quit smoking. The following Buzzle article elaborates more on the benefits of using a nicotine patch.
Did You Know?
Although a nicotine patch can be worn for 24 hours, it should be removed before taking a bath.
When you want to quit smoking but are unable to do so, doctors often recommend nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to stop this unhealthy habit. NRT is considered to be the first line of approach for people who wish to get rid of this carcinogenic stick. Studies indicate that people undergoing a NRT have almost double the chance of quitting smoking than those who prefer to quit abruptly.
Nicotine patches and gums are the most sought-after nicotine products that help to break this habit of smoking. Although these products serve the purpose, we are often on the look out for one that works better in stopping those nicotine urges.
Nicotine Patch or Gum: Which is Better?
It is observed that the nicotine patch is better than the gum when it comes to overcoming those cravings. The two are compared on the criteria given below:
- Compared to the gum, the patch is better at managing nicotine cravings. The patch that is applied on the skin delivers a steady dose of nicotine all day, which provides a better way at satisfying nicotine cravings. The cravings just seem to vanish with regular use of the nicotine patch.
- Whereas, the chewing gum is not as good as patch at holding nicotine urges. Quite a few users using the chewing gum are said to have faced difficulty in controlling nicotine urges. No wonder, the desire to smoke may persist even after using the chewing gum.
- You can chew a maximum of 9 pieces of nicotine gum a day to control the urge to smoke. Usually, heavy smokers chew 1 to 2 pieces of nicotine gum every hour to overcome strong cravings. This means, you will be spending most part of the day chewing the gum, which can be embarrassing when attending social events. Also, despite chewing the gum frequently, you may not get adequate nicotine which is necessary to control the urge.
- In case of a nicotine patch, you have to stick this small patch to any part of your skin and then don’t have to think of it for the next 24 hours. The patch delivers the nicotine at a steady rate, which reaches the bloodstream transdermally. This transdermal route of administering nicotine is found to be more effective in controlling cravings.
- People using the nicotine gum to quit smoking may suffer from mouth ulcers, jaw discomfort, and throat irritation. Chewing it constantly, like a regular chewing gum, can cause hiccups, stomach cramps, and heartburn. You need to chew it slowly, and then hold it between the cheeks and gums. When the taste of the gum diminishes, again chew it. This method of biting it slowly and then placing it aside has to be repeated as and when required to experience the taste and satisfy the cravings. This park and chew technique can be slightly cumbersome, and if ignored can cause a wide range of side effects.
- On the other hand, with a nicotine patch, a minor skin irritation, such as rash and localized swelling, may occur at the site of application. Sleeping problems, headache, and muscle aches have also been reported by some users of the patch. However, usually, minor skin reactions occur due to the usage of a nicotine patch. This side effect can be reduced considerably by choosing a different site every time you apply the patch.
What Does Research Say??
A study carried out at the Imperial Cancer Research Center, U.K., found out that among 1,686 heavy smokers who were advised to wear nicotine patch for 24 hours, for a duration of 12 weeks, 163 smokers were able to quit smoking completely. Also, around 16% of patients at the end of treatment, complained about localized skin irritation, which was not a cause for concern. The study concluded that nicotine patches are safe and effective in curbing this bad habit.
A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, February 2009, showed that nicotine gum is effective to quit smoking gradually. The 3,297 smokers who participated in the study were randomly assigned to placebo or 2 to 4 mg nicotine gum treatment. They were also advised to use more nicotine gum, while reducing the number of cigarettes. The study observed that people using nicotine gum who gradually reduced number of cigarettes, had a better chance of showing 28-day smoking cessation period and 6-month smoking cessation period. Although the nicotine gum did facilitate reduction of cigarettes, only 5.9% smokers taking the gum, were actually able to stay away from cigarette for 6 months.
All in all, nicotine gum has to be used as often as possible to beat cravings. Whereas, the nicotine patch has to be applied just once a day to control cravings. The steady amount of nicotine delivered from the patch prevents nicotine levels from dropping too low, in turn keeping strong cravings at bay.
On the whole, besides using the right nicotine product, the most important thing that you need to successfully quit smoking is will power. If you lack the will power, becoming smoke-free may seem impossible, no matter what product you use.
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.