Addiction To Nicotine Lozenges
Some quitting methods, like cold turkey and tapering, essentially rely on willpower to cope with withdrawal symptoms and cravings. But the fact is that the physical symptoms caused by nicotine withdrawal are one of the primary reasons that people return to smoking. Willpower isn't always enough.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) was designed to reduce withdrawal symptoms by supplying a relatively safe source of nicotine in measured doses that can be reduced in strength or frequency until the supply of nicotine is completely stopped. This therapy has helped many people successfully stop smoking.
Several types of NRT are now on the market. Nicotine patches, electronic cigarettes, and lozenges are available without a prescription, while nicotine nasal sprays and inhalers are available through prescription only. This post will examine nicotine lozenges so that you can decide if they would help you in your efforts to quit smoking.
WHAT IS IT?
The nicotine lozenge is an oral form of nicotine therapy that is much like a hard candy, except that it contains nicotine. As the lozenge dissolves in the mouth, it slowly releases all of the nicotine, allowing it to be absorbed by the body.
Like nicotine gum, the lozenge comes in different strengths – 2 milligrams and 4 milligrams – so that smokers can use the strength that is appropriate for the amount of nicotine they are used to getting from cigarettes. (The average cigarette delivers roughly 2 milligrams of nicotine, with some containing less and some containing more.) Lozenges are available in different flavors, such as mint and cherry.
This type of NRT is intended to be used as needed, whenever the craving to smoke arises.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
As you learned earlier, the nicotine in cigarettes provides feelings of enjoyment by increasing brain levels of the chemical dopamine – a substance associated with the pleasure system of the brain. As nicotine creates a feeling of pleasure time and time again, it also creates an addiction that causes your brain to punish you when smoking stops. When the supply of tobacco is severed, you experience symptoms such as irritability, frustration, anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. Many people find these symptoms so distressing that they start smoking cigarettes again despite their desire to quit.
Nicotine lozenges help you stop smoking by bringing nicotine into your body via a different delivery system – a safer delivery system that does not provide the tars, carbon monoxide, and other toxic chemicals contained in cigarettes. As the lozenge dissolves in your mouth, the nicotine is released and absorbed through the mucous membranes of your mouth into your bloodstream. Because your brain is not starved of nicotine, it produces either no withdrawal symptoms or less severe symptoms, making it easier to quit.
It's important to understand that all NRTs work in different ways. The patch, delivers a slow, constant, low level of nicotine. But like nicotine gum, the lozenge delivers a measured dose of nicotine only when you place it in your mouth. This not only helps simulate the highs and lows of nicotine normally experienced when smoking cigarettes, but also acts as a substitute oral activity.
HOW DO YOU USE IT?
Nicotine lozenges must be used in combination with cold turkey quitting. You cannot smoke while using the lozenges, as this can result in an overdose of nicotine. For that reason, your first step in using this technique is to choose a Quit Date, just as you would if you were quitting cold turkey without the help of an NRT.
Next, you must choose the right strength lozenge. It is a good idea to speak to your physician or pharmacist regarding the best strength to use. Generally, manufacturers recommend that if you tend to smoke your first cigarette within thirty minutes of waking up, you use the 4-milligrarn lozenge. If you smoke your first cigarette more than thirty minutes after awakening, the 2-milligram lozenge may be a more appropriate choice.
When your Quit Date arrives and you stop smoking, you can begin using the nicotine lozenge as needed – whenever the craving to smoke a cigarette arises. To achieve best results and avoid unpleasant side effects, place the nicotine lozenge in your mouth and allow it to dissolve slowly.
This should take twenty to thirty minutes. As you suck on the lozenge, occasionally move it from one side of your mouth to the other. Minimize swallowing, and do not chew or swallow the lozenge, as this will not only decrease your absorption of the nicotine, but can also lead to problems such as heartburn.
To prevent nicotine withdrawal symptoms, manufacturers generally recommend that you use at least nine lozenges a day for the first six weeks, and that you use no more than twenty during each twenty-four hour period. In other words, during waking hours, you can have about one lozenge an hour. After the first six weeks, you should start reducing your use of the NRT by increasing the interval between lozenges. For instance, you might use one lozenge every one to two hours for the first six weeks; one every two to four hours from week seven to week nine; and one every four to eight hours during the last three weeks. Be aware that if you stop using the lozenges abruptly, rather than tapering off, you may experience the same withdrawal symptoms caused by the abrupt cessation of smoking. If you feel that you still need to use the lozenges after twelve weeks, speak to your doctor.
Although nicotine lozenges can help you quit smoking, it's important to understand that the lozenges alone will not enable you to give up cigarettes. Smokers are addicted not just to nicotine, but to the entire smoking experience. For that reason, you'll have greatest success using the lozenges if you anticipate possible problems and have some solutions on hand. Note, too, that because the lozenges deliver a drug into your system, you'll want to take certain precautions so make the quitting experience as safe as possible. Next post, I'll show you some tips to take note when using nicotine lozenges. Before that, you can check out Addiction To Nicotine Lozenges for more details.