So you want to give up smoking but you’re finding cutting nicotine completely out of your lifestyle difficult, well enter nicotine gum. Many people who are trying to quit smoking will turn to nicotine gum as a healthier alternative, but is it really the healthier option?
Addiction can be a real problem when it comes to nicotine gum, the same way you may be addicted to smoking, and there could be possible side effects to chewing nicotine gum.
But we’ll look at these in more detail and look at whether it’s safer than having a cigarette.
What Actually Is Nicotine?
Nicotine is a naturally produced alkaloid which is commonly found in cigarettes and it’s a stimulant that speeds up the messages traveling between the brain and the body.
It’s highly addictive and it can cause a high heart rate and narrow the arteries which increases the chances of a heart attack.
Nicotine paired with tar, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide which are found in tobacco products can be deadly and cause lung disease, cancer and many more life threatening diseases.
How To Use Nicotine Gum
You won’t want to use nicotine gum like regular chewing gum.
If you chew it like regular gum then all the nicotine would be released directly into your saliva and this could turn into a nasty stomach ache and an overwhelming craving for a cigarette, which is the opposite of what you want to do. So how do you use it?
Well, there’s a method called ‘chew and park’ which is most commonly used. You should chew the gum until you can taste a peppermint flavor in your mouth or until you feel your mouth tingling.
Then you should slot it in between your cheek and gum, this allows the nicotine to slowly release into your bloodstream and effectively curb those cravings for a cigarette.
Do this for around 20-30 minutes for the remaining nicotine to be absorbed into your bloodstream.
How Much Nicotine Gum Should You Chew?
This can be a little confusing, do you chew as much gum as you would usually smoke in cigarettes? If you previously smoked under 25 cigarettes a day you should use 2 milligram nicotine gum and if you smoked over 25 then you should use 4 milligrams.
A singular piece of gum is one dose and you should not chew over 24 in a single day. It’s recommended that if you smoked regularly then you should chew around 9 pieces of gum a day.
So, Is Nicotine Gum Bad For You?
It all depends on how you define ‘bad for you’, it’s much better than having a cigarette as it comes without the nasty ingredients, but it still does contain nicotine which as we said is highly addictive and can increase your chances of a heart attack albeit low.
But nicotine gum does contain a lot less nicotine than the average cigarette.
Like we mentioned earlier, nicotine gums will come in two strengths: 2 milligrams for people who smoked under 25 cigarettes a day and 4 milligrams for people who smoked over 25 cigarettes a day, whilst a cigarette could contain up to 12 milligrams of nicotine.
Nicotine will also be much better for your oral hygiene than smoking is.
Your teeth suffer immensely from smoking and can even stain your teeth yellow in a lot of cases, but chewing nicotine gum will help your breath keep smelling fresh rather than that awful smoke smell from cigarettes.
Side effects regarding your oral hygiene can occur when chewing nicotine gum but it’s relatively minor than smoking cigarettes.
It can cause jaw pain and mouth sores in long term users but you’ll hopefully be rid of the nicotine gum within a year or so, so there shouldn’t be any worry that will happen to you.
Is Nicotine Gum Safe For You?
Whilst it’s not as safe as completely stopping smoking, it’s a good alternative to stop those nasty withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal of nicotine can produce side effects such as an increase of appetite, intense cravings of nicotine, headaches and even psychological symptoms such as depression or anxiety.
It’s unfair that when you try to stop smoking to improve your health, your body acts in a bad state. Withdrawal will go eventually and it’s different for everyone, but just know it’s a marathon and not a sprint.
The FDA have said that nicotine replacement is a great way to curb these horrible effects on your body, as it helps you to gradually wean yourself off nicotine.
Are There Any Side Effects From Chewing Nicotine Gum?
Of course like most things there are some side effects to chewing nicotine gum, but not as bad as the side effects are for smoking. Using nicotine gum could result in headaches, dizziness, or dry mouth due to the nicotine.
There are more serious side effects which are rare but you should contact your doctor if you experience your heartbeat pounding, a tightness in your chest or wheezing.
You should seek immediate medical attention if you find your face swelling up, difficulty breathing or break out in rashes as you could be having an allergic reaction to the nicotine gum.
Are There Any Long-Term Side Effects?
There aren’t any long-term side effects reported regarding nicotine gum use, but if you’re still using nicotine gum for an extended period of time then it may be worth contacting your doctor to see if there’s any other methods you could try as long term use of nicotine gum could result in mouth sores or jaw pain as we mentioned earlier.
If you’re still worried about nicotine gum and its potential side effects you should contact your doctor or a health professional as they will be able to give you more guidance.
Nicotine gum is definitely the right choice if you’re thinking about cutting back on smoking and we wish you the best of luck on your journey to quitting smoking completely!
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