Nicotine Replacement Therapy is a useful aid for many people in their journey of becoming cigarette-free. However, there is a LOT of confusion and misunderstanding concerning the benefits and effectiveness of nicotine replacement treatments and products today. So, let’s explore and unravel these misconceptions associated with NRT, figure out why they exist in the first place, and uncover the truths behind the myths.
The myth that Nicotine Replacement Therapy doesn’t work is definitely a misconception. The reality is that Nicotine Replacement Therapy and NRT products are very effective aids to consider using as support when giving up smoking. By incorporating NRT into a quitting plan, quitting success is proven to be doubled, and in some studies, chances of success are shown to increase at a rate of up to 70%.
The idea that NRT products won’t reduce cravings is another misconception to be debunked. The very purpose and function of nicotine therapy treatments and products are to help people manage their withdrawal. By using the small amount of nicotine present in NRT products, you can ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings you experience when quitting smoking.
As stated above, Nicotine Replacement Therapy does effectively reduce symptoms of cravings and withdrawal. However, it only alleviates symptoms and does completely remove them. Symptoms that NRT can help to ease include irritability, frustration, anger, hunger, craving, anxiety, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and insomnia.
This misconception is dangerous because if people start using NRT with the assumption that it will eliminate their withdrawal symptoms, they will find it more frustrating and potentially harder to quit if the process of quitting is harder than anticipated. NRT is most effective when combined with an intentional quit plan.
It is important to note that most people find dealing with withdrawal symptoms particularly difficult within the first 1-2 weeks after initially quitting.
The best approach to quitting smoking is going with a method that works for you. There is no best choice for everyone. NRT is one effective way that is proven to work. The main benefits of NRT products are that they let you quit slowly, and therefore minimize side effects felt during the process. However, going cold turkey is also a proven method that works for some people.
Stopping cold turkey can be exactly the encouragement some people need to make sure that they can never look back and contemplate smoking another cigarette again. On the other hand, this method of stopping abruptly looks daunting for others and makes the process more intimidating than it needs to be. So, experiment and find a quitting method that is personal and most effective for you.
Investing in your health is worth every penny. In the long run, nicotine replacement products are far less costly than smoking, especially when considering the long-term effects.
The addictiveness of cigarettes means that smokers are far more likely to continue smoking and spending money on cigarettes for years to come. In contrast, NRT products are generally only bought as a supportive aid for a few weeks to help you quit smoking.
The myth that NRT is just replacing one addiction with another, is another unfounded misconception. Let’s unpack it, shall we?
While nicotine is acknowledged to be an addictive substance found in tobacco, it is the chemicals and toxins released into the body when smoking that causes smoking-related illnesses and death.
The amount of nicotine in NRT products is very weak in comparison to a regular cigarette, only using enough to sate withdrawals, but not enough to keep you addicted to the substance. Because there is only a small amount of nicotine used in NRT, it is far easier to stop using NRT products long-term than it is to stop smoking cigarettes.
While the effects of nicotine on your health are not a hundred percent known, the effect that cigarettes have on your health is a hundred percent pre-determined. Therefore, using NRT can be a great choice to help you get back on track with your health. Using nicotine as a short-term replacement to combat cravings and withdrawal symptoms is worth it in the long run if it helps you to reach the cigarette-free milestone you’re aiming for.
If you’re concerned that you will start smoking again after you finish using NRT, this is more likely due to your psychological connection with cigarettes than influenced by the actual effectiveness of NRT.
It can be harder to stop smoking if you’re not in the right mindset or are not in a supportive environment to help you achieve success. If you are worried about falling back on old habits and relying on cigarettes after you stop using NRT products, it is perfectly acceptable to continue using NRT products long-term. Your body will still thank you for the benefits of not smoking cigarettes.
If you slowly work on your relationship with cigarettes and build your confidence without using smoking as your backbone, rest assured, you will one day be ready to quit smoking completely. Then you can happily stop using NRT as well.
It is not dangerous to use multiple NRT products or combine it with an e-cigarette. For some people, having more than one aid to help them through withdrawals is the most effective solution. If you are concerned about combining any products, you can always discuss it with your doctor for further details and find out which products are best for you.
For most adults, NRT is an acceptable quit plan for you to use without consulting a doctor. NRT is acceptable for people with diabetes or who have high blood pressure because it does not increase the risk of heart attacks.
However, if you are uncertain if NRT is the right choice for you, discuss it with your doctor and come up with an ideal quit plan together.
The bottom line is that NRT is safer to use during pregnancy than continuing to smoke cigarettes while pregnant. If you use NRT during pregnancy, the levels of nicotine in your bloodstream are far lower than the amount there if you continue smoking. There is also far less risk to the baby as the toxic chemicals found in cigarettes are not present in NRT products.
The main reason we fail at quitting our habit of smoking is that we go about quitting in the wrong way. If we target the physical habit of smoking but ignore the psychological relationship we have with smoking, we are a lot more likely to fall back on old habits.
When quitting an unhealthy habit, the trick is to create new healthy habits to replace the old ones. For example, if smoking is something you do to calm down, you need to create a new way to let yourself relax that doesn’t involve having a cigarette.
If you want more inspiration and advice to help you plan for success, explore the great tips we have available in our January blog discussing how to really quit smoking this new year’s.
Remember: you’re not alone in this, we’re here for you as well as your loved ones, and you have our support along the road to success! Feel free to explore our NRT products to find a quitting plan that’s right for you.