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Nicotine replacement therapy or NRT is the most commonly used class of over-the-counter smoking cessation products. These products contain nicotine, the addictive drug found in cigarettes, but they do not contain the other harmful chemicals found in cigarettes and cigarette smoke. The idea of nicotine replacement therapy is to supply your body with small amounts of nicotine in order to reduce cravings and ease symptoms of withdrawal. As you progress on your journey to quit, you should be able to use less and less of your nicotine replacement product without experiencing unpleasant symptoms, and eventually, you may be able to discontinue use of the product entirely.
Types of Nicotine Replacement Therapy Solutions
There are two types of nicotine replacement therapy products: short-acting and long-acting.
Short-acting products provide very fast relief from cravings and withdrawal symptoms, but their benefits last for only a short period of time. Short-acting products include nicotine gum, which is chewed until the mouth begins to tingle and then kept in place between the teeth and gums. Lozenges, which are sucked like candy until they dissolve, are also short-acting nicotine replacement therapy solutions.
Nicotine transdermal patches are the long-acting option for nicotine replacement therapy. The patches stick to the skin and release small amounts of nicotine into the body at a steady rate throughout the day.
Are There Natural Ways to Quit Smoking?
Some people prefer to use alternatives to nicotine replacement therapy either because they wish to avoid nicotine entirely or they would rather use a more natural product to kick the habit. Homeopathic tablets, lozenges and nasal sprays are some of the options among alternative smoking cessation products. Their formulas contain small amounts of herbs that are believed by some homeopathic practitioners to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
Acupressure products are another option and apply pressure to certain parts of the body in an attempt to soothe discomfort related to withdrawal. There is not enough research to know for sure whether any type of alternative product intended to help smokers quit is effective.
Important Things to Consider
Quitting smoking is always a healthy choice, but not all smoking cessation products are ideal for everyone. Before using a nicotine replacement therapy product or an alternative smoking cessation product, be sure to talk to your doctor. If you have certain medical conditions or take certain medications, some products may not be safe for you. Your doctor may also discuss behavior modification therapy or counseling to help you successfully quit. In some cases, you may need to use a prescription medication with or without other smoking cessation solutions to achieve your goal and become tobacco-free.
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