Nicotine Replacement Therapy Products vs. E-Cigarettes
Which is a Better Smoking Cessation Product?
Smoking is a deadly habit. More than willpower, a smoker needs support and perhaps the help of a smoking cessation product to help him beat the addiction. About 60% of smokers have expressed a desire to quit but find it difficult to stop permanently.
Health risks associated with smoking are real, and the dangers get worse when one gets older. People who still smoke in their 40s to 50s are three to four more times likely to die over the next ten years than a non-smoker.
Benefits of Stopping Smoking
Once you quit, the positive effects are instantaneous. Your blood pressure and heart rate decline within 20 minutes of smoking your last stick. The level of poisonous carbon monoxide in your body normalizes within 12 hours. In the next few months, your lungs will be back to being able to remove pollutants efficiently. Sinus congestion disappears. And your senses of taste and smell will improve.
The instant effects of quitting smoking don’t stop there. Not only will you have a lower risk of getting different kinds of cancer including lung cancer. But you will also reduce your chances of suffering from heart disease, stroke, emphysema and a lot more kinds of diseases.
If these would not entice you to quit, perhaps the addition of smoking aids will help you face the withdrawal symptoms bravely. According to smokers’ testimonies, most find it hard to quit because of the withdrawal symptoms they experience. Nicotine is the one responsible for the addiction and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a variety of smoking cessation products. These products have concentrated and proportionally doses of nicotine designed to help wean off the addiction.
What are Nicotine Replacement Products?
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products come in the form of patches, gum, lozenges, sublingual tablets, inhalers and prescribed medications. Studies show that NRT products on the average help increase the chance of successfully quitting twice or thrice.
Managing Withdrawal Symptoms
All smokers who quit experience nicotine withdrawal. NRT products help reduce some of these symptoms – including cravings for tobacco, irritability, frustration, feeling angry, sleep problems, depressed mood, feeling anxious, difficulty in concentrating, restlessness, decreased heart rate, increased appetite or weight gain. You can also have depression and experience trouble sleeping.
NRT products only provide some of the nicotine you would get from smoking cigarettes, it doesn’t have the same harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke like tar, benzene and others.
Basically, NRT products help by making cravings less strong. It’s important to not stop using NRT too early as this can increase the chances of relapse to smoking. They have over the counter products and are approved for sale to people 18 years of age and older.
Here some examples: Nicotine skin patches; Nicotine chewing gums; Nicotine lozenges;
They work by slowly releasing nicotine in your bloodstream. Gums and lozenges slowly release it into the mouth while patches stick to your skin and release it through the skin and into the bloodstream. Unlike tobacco smoking where a hit is obtained in a matter of seconds, these products move slowly and take longer to get into your stream.
These products are safe to use when used properly. Again, nicotine by itself is not nearly as harmful as smoking.
Combining some of NRT products actually doubles your chances of quitting successfully. You should still talk to your doctor before you combine therapy products.
It’s proven to work equally well but have side effects depending on the product used. One should note though these people who stop using them because of side effects are less than 5%.
What are E-Cigarettes?
Known as an electronic cigarette, smokeless cigarette or vape, it is a battery-operated device made to function like the real cigarette.
It is shaped like a cigarette and works like one. You puff into an opening and get to inhale “smoke” in the form of vapor. It has three parts: battery, an atomizer and the refillable cartridge containing nicotine and flavorings.
Like NRT products, e-cigarettes carry doses of nicotine that can be concentrated to help a smoker wean off his addiction.
There are many advantages of using an e-cigarette over NRT products though:
Nicotine hits (otherwise known as tobacco hits) come more quickly. This allows a person to get his “high” the same moment he needs it, very much like smoking a cigarette.
It recreates the smoking experience. More than the nicotine, smokers usually miss having a cigarette in his hand or in his mouth, inhaling or puffing a stick. An e-cigarette provides this hand to mouth experience.
It is more economical in the long run. E-cigarettes are reusable and can be saved for the cartridges that all you need is to replace.
It comes in different flavors.
While NRT products usually need to be taken with another product to help stop smoking, surveys show that e-cigarettes taken alone have helped smokers fight cravings, cope with withdrawal symptoms and help them avoid a relapse. Of the 3,587 participants, 70% were former smokers, 61% were men, and the median age was 41 years. On average, participants used the e-cigarette for approximately 3 months, drew 120 puffs/day, and used 5 cartridges/day. Almost all of them used cartridges that contained nicotine. Ninety-six percent said that the e-cigarette helped them quit smoking, while 92% said that it made them smoke less.