Quitting smoking is never easy. Whilst some people seem to have an easier time dealing with it, for many other people, it is one of the hardest things that they will have to do in their life.
After all, quitting something as addictive and as a part of your everyday life as smoking isn’t a sprint, something that is very difficult for a short amount of time, before it is over.
For most people going clean, is a marathon, something that will be an arduous task for a long time going forward, and will take a long time to recover from.
Fortunately, people have been coming up with new strategies and products to help make that journey easier for others for a good few decades now, with a wide range of plans and items that you can easily find on the market to help ease you off of the cigarettes.
One of the most popular markets that have boomed in the last few years is the nicotine-supplement range of products.
As nicotine is the chemical that often makes you crave to pick up another cigarette, many manufacturers have started creating products that, whilst still containing small amounts of it, can be used to slowly wean you off smoking.
One of the first products in this line, as well as one of the most popular out there, is nicotine gum.
First made available to buy in 1984 by Nicorette, nicotine gum is one of the most bought nicotine products on the market, and is only expected to grow in the coming years, with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of nicotine gum packs being sold every year.
This has led many people to wonder if nicotine gum is that helpful for you. After all, if there is a big market for it, does that mean that there is an incentive to make sure that people keep using it? It’s a valid question and one that demands an honest response.
In this article, we are going to be discussing what exactly nicotine gum is, what it does to your body, and some of the benefits it has for you over smoking cigarettes.
We’ll also discuss some of the health issues that come with chewing nicotine gum over a long period, as well as answer if nicotine gum is addictive in the same way as cigarettes.
What Is Nicotine Gum?
Before we go any further, we should probably explain what exactly nicotine gum is, and how it works on your body.
Generally, nicotine gum is exactly what it sounds like. It is a type of chewing gum that contains nicotine, that is delivered to the rest of the body by chewing it.
The amount of nicotine in the gum will be less than what you would absorb through smoking, although how much will depend on the strength of the gum you are using.
Nicotine gum comes in two dosages, which are taken depending on how heavy of a smoker you are. For a light smoker who uses less than 15 cigarettes a day, the 2 mg dosage is recommended for you.
For heavier smokers who usually smoke more than 20 a day, the 4mg dose gums are ideal for you. These different amounts contain around 53% and 72% of nicotine for each respective type of smoker.
Nicotine gum also often comes with a recommended dose regime that you can follow, to demonstrate how and when you should be taking them. For Nicorette, their official guidelines are as follows:
- For the first 6 weeks, it is recommended that you use 1 piece of gum roughly every 1 to 2 hours.
- From weeks 7 to 9, you are expected to extend that time to approximately 2 to 4 hours between every piece of gum used.
- Between weeks 10 and 12, you should only be using one piece of gum every 4 to 8 hours.
Once you have finished week 12, you are expected to then stop using nicotine gum. If you have used the gum as intended, it will have helped you through the most difficult part of your nicotine withdrawal.
Benefits Of Using Nicotine Gum Correctly
There are many benefits to using nicotine gum correctly, or as advised by a doctor:
- Although nicotine gum is derived from tobacco products, there is virtually no tobacco in the gum itself. This means that you will be able to avoid most of the damaging effects of tobacco whilst you are quitting.
- The dose of nicotine you get from the gum is also lower than you will find in cigarettes. This makes it an excellent way to help deal with the withdrawal symptoms you can get from quitting smoking, whilst also slowly weaning yourself off them.
- The dose schedule, if it is approved by a doctor or health professional, means that you will likely stop feeling the most difficult needs for nicotine within 12 weeks.
- Nicotine gum also does not appear to have any adverse effects on any other medication you may also be taking, at least whilst it is being used for the prescribed course.
Is Nicotine Gum Addictive?
However, despite these many positives and more, there is still the question of how good nicotine is for you, and not just when compared to tobacco products.
Certainly, the fact that there is no tobacco in nicotine products does mean that you will avoid the worst effects of cigarettes, such as cardiovascular problems.
However, it should be remembered that the gum does still contain nicotine in it, which is a highly addictive substance, no matter how small the dose is in your products.
This is why most nicotine gum manufacturers will also provide a strict schedule that you should stick to when using nicotine gum.
Continuing to use it after the recommended period does run the risk of you staying addicted to the gum, which does eliminate the point of trying to quit smoking in the first place.
Are There Any Other Risks To Using Nicotine Gum?
Still, if there is no tobacco, how bad can using nicotine gum be? Well, there are several side effects:
- The gum often gives users hiccups when using it.
- Nicotine can restrict blood flow in your arteries, and put pressure on the vessel walls.
- Nicotine can also slow recovery from wounds, and affect your reproductive organs.
- For breastfeeding mothers, nicotine has been found in trace amounts of breast milk, meaning that you could accidentally be feeding your newborn nicotine if you are also using the nicotine gum at the same time.
In short, whilst using nicotine gum is unlikely to be addictive in the short term, you should always keep in mind that nicotine gum is designed to help get you off nicotine, and not just a replacement for smoking.
And, of course, you should not be taking nicotine gum if you have already finished your regimen, and don’t start taking nicotine if you already don’t smoke!