When you’re thinking about quitting smoking, smokeless tobacco or other nicotine filled products, you might be worrying about whether or not you can pull it off.
Perhaps you’re worried about whether or not you can handle the cravings or maybe you’ll gain weight – whatever the case, you think you might not be able to do it on your own.
When quitters need some help, sometimes they’ll look to an aid for help and one of the most popular and well known quitting aids is Nicorette gum. But people might be apprehensive about its efficacy.
If you’ve not used Nicorette gum before, you might not be aware of how it works, why it is a method and if it actually works in the first place.
This guide will answer all of these questions and help you out with other key Nicorette gum facts that you may need to know.
What Exactly Is Nicorette Gum Anyway?
Nicorette gum falls under the category of a nicotine replacement therapy, or NRT for short.
These types of aides exist to help people during the quitting process and there is a good reason for its existence.
When someone uses nicotine via smoking, chewing tobacco, vaping etc. they are intaking a harmful chemical (along with many other harmful chemicals).
But arguably nicotine is the most harmful substance due to its addictive properties. When somebody becomes addicted to something, their minds and bodies are affected negatively.
Not only must they spend on a product that their body craves, but these cravings cause physical manifestations.
People withdrawing from nicotine often feel nauseated, have consistent headaches, act jittery, lash out aggressively, feel weak, struggle to think as they normally would, have an overpowering need for nicotine and so many other results.
As a way to curtail this, nicotine replacement therapy exists.
The idea is to give your body a smaller amount of nicotine and reduce the amount gradually, similar to how an alcoholic might reduce their intake of alcohol, because going cold turkey can be deadly to them.
If somebody has a psychological disposition to put their hand to their mouth or chew something, exchanging these physical movements and choices with something less harmful is a very good idea.
With Nicorette gum, you’ll still be getting some nicotine, but a much lower amount than before and if you were a smoker, you are no longer getting the additional negative effects such as lung stress and a sore throat.
So, How Exactly Does Nicorette Gum Work?
The aim of Nicorette gum is to help a quitter gradually over time reduce the amount of nicotine they are taking.
When someone quits smoking cold turkey, they might experience some of the symptoms we listed in the last section – but also might find:
- They gain a lot of weight
- They feel anxious
- They cannot focus
- They feel sad or depressed
As a result of these feelings, people who try to quit often give up early and go back to using nicotine products.
Studies have suggested that someone is almost twice as likely to quit for good if they use a type of nicotine replacement therapy.
The way in which you use Nicorette gum is the most important factor in the benefits of the gum and your overall success.
In essence, if a quitter simply chews this gum all day – they will not be getting any benefits of nicotine reduction.
A plan should be set out prior to use that allows a quitter to take a Nicorette gum at controlled times of the day that suits their lives.
This will give them a “hit” of nicotine at certain points in the day. As time goes on, the amount of gum throughout the day will reduce until eventually – you don’t need it at all.
Moreover, the benefits of using Nicorette gum are that it keeps your facial muscles busy and you’re less likely to reach for a cigarette – along with controlling strong cravings which might send you to junk food, which can make you gain weight.
And perhaps an area that is overlooked, gum can fit easily in any pocket and you’re not restricted to the area you’re in to chew it – unlike smoking or chewing tobacco, where some restrictions might be in place.
What Should The Plan Be For Using The Gum?
It’s all about control. It will largely depend on your willpower and self control too though.
Nicorette recommends that you should chew one piece of their gum every “one to two hours in the first six weeks”.
The overall plan is to be nicotine free in 12 weeks, however – some experts have suggested that if you reduce the amount of gum you chew every week, you should be able to quit for good in a quicker period.
Are There Any Side Effects?
In reality, it will depend on if you are using Nicorette gum responsibly. If you overdo it, you’ll still be receiving the harmful side effects of nicotine uses, most notably – addiction.
There are no confirmed health concerns with the use of Nicorette gum, other than that of nicotine.
With this gum, you might notice a bad taste in your mouth, pain in the jaw from chewing too much or a faster heartbeat – but these are to be expected.
It’s key to remember that any nicotine replacement therapy aims to reduce or remove the dependency on nicotine in the physical, and in some ways psychological sense.
They cannot be used alone and to quit for good, you’ll also need to employ other avenues to quit nicotine for good, like sticking to a healthy diet and exercise, improve your willpower and sense of control, get a good support network, keep your mind occupied and always stay determined.
Nicorette gum is more a short term solution for a long term benefit and it cannot be used as a long term solution.
If you’re struggling to quit even when using Nicorette gum, you should speak with your doctor for their advice.
Does It Work Then?
Yes and no. As an aid, when used responsibly and in conjunction with other quitting strategies, a strong willpower and drive to succeed – you have double the chance of quitting for good.
But people who do not use other strategies or have a lack of determination, or worse – continue to use nicotine with nicotine replacement therapy will not see the benefits of using Nicorette gum and therefore are unlikely to quit smoking.
For some people, they might not like the idea of Nicorette gum. If this is the case, there are other nicotine replacement products available such as nicotine patches or inhalers.
It really comes down to the person who wants to quit. They must have a determination and the willingness to succeed before they begin the quitting process and then look to these aides for support along the way.
The Bottom Line
Nicorette gum can work if you use it correctly and have other support methods around you.
Remember that quitting nicotine for good needs you to have a drive within to succeed and this type of nicotine replacement can be one of your support networks to help you do that.