Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Myths About Nicotine Replacement Products

Many smokers believe that medicinal nicotine is just as harmful as getting nicotine from smoking but that is not true. Inhalation is the faster way for nicotine to enter into the brain because the smoke goes from the lungs to the heart and is pumped directly to the brain. It only takes about 7 to 10 seconds for nicotine to reach the brain. Inhalation of smoke give a higher concentration of nicotine with the fastest delivery possible. Medicinal nicotine takes much longer to get to the brain and give no way near the amount of nicotine that you get from smoking.
Another myth is that medicinal nicotine doesn't work. the truth is that most individuals who use nicotine replacement products don't use enough, they under dose themselves so that the withdrawals never do get under control or the quit using it before they should. The Mayo Clinic in their Tobacco Treatment Specialist Program suggest dosing to the level of addition. They will use a combination of the patch and oral nicotine on an as needed basis. The dose of the patch should match the amount of cigarettes smoked. 20 cigarettes = 21 mg patch. 40 cigarettes = 2 21 mg patches. Then they advocate the use of oral nicotine, the lowest dose gum or lozenge on an as needed basis, when a particularly difficult craving arises. Medicinal nicotine can be used with Zyban (bupropion is the genetic label) for those that are extremely addicted and where one product has not been enough to control withdrawal symptoms. Medicinal nicotine should not be used with Chantix (varenicline is the genetic label) because the two products work on the same receptor sites in the brain and would work against each other instead of together.
Another myth is that if you smoke when you have the patch on, you will have a heart attack. This is not true. Smokers are at a higher risk for heart disease and the best thing they can do for their heart is quit smoking but using medicinal nicotine and smoking together may give the smoker a stomachache or a headache because they are getting too much nicotine.
Medicinal nicotine can help a quitter deal with the withdrawal symptoms of quitting while they are learning to deal with all the other connections to their cigarettes such as breaking habit cigarettes, learning new coping strategies for stress and strong emotions. Tapering off medicinal nicotine is not the same as coming off of nicotine that has been inhaled, the amount of medicinal nicotine is not even close to the dosage from smoking and doesn't reach the level for addiction. Besides, nicotine is addictive but it's not the most dangerous drug in smoke.
Using medicinal nicotine can also help with post cessation weight gain.

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