Nicotine Replacement Therapy, or NRT, is a method by which smokers get their nicotine dose through means other than smoking (or other tobacco use). NRT typically involves the use of gum, patches, lozenges, or nasal spray, and works by delivering nicotine to the body in a controlled manner. This helps the smoker ease toward quitting the habit, while avoiding the symptoms and difficulty of sudden withdrawal.
by other means aside from smoking tobacco products. NRTs usually come in the form of gum, patches, nasal spray, or lozenges. NRTs work by delivering nicotine to the body in a controlled manner to ease the smoker into quitting the habit while avoiding withdrawal symptoms. According to an article from Lifestyle Medicine, 50% of all people attempting to quit experience those withdrawal symptoms –– which makes clear the value of a process that mitigates them.
What are NRT products today?
In years past, the NRT market has been dominated primarily by nicotine gum and patches, which have been effective in helping many smokers quit. Patches adhere directly to the skin to release nicotine into the body, with popular brands being Nicoderm CQ Patch and the Rite Aid Nicotine Transdermal System Patch. Both are well-known products that deliver steady dosages of nicotine and are tried and trusted. The only issues that some have with patches are occasional skin irritation and the fact that they don’t give the hands or mouth anything to do when the urge to smoke hits.
Nicotine gum can’t solve the hand issue, but it does provide an activity (for lack of a better word) for the mouth, which can make it easier for a person to forget they’re not smoking. Gum delivers nicotine through the lining of the mouth, usually at 2mg per piece (or 4mg per piece for people who smoked more heavily). Respected names in this category include Rogue Nicotine Gum and Kirkland Signature Quit Nicotine Polacrilex Gum, among others.
While lozenges and spray remain options as well, the other heavy hitter in today’s NRT market is the nicotine pouch –– a newer alternative to patches and gum. These are small items that would-be smokers place in their mouths (beneath the upper lip), where they begin to release small amounts of nicotine into the mouth. Their appeal is largely in that they can be used without attracting attention, are easy to throw away, and even come in a wide range of interesting flavors. The market for these NRT products is still evolving, but the current top nicotine pouches at Prilla, a leading platform in the space, are Zyn, Velo, and Rogue –– indicating that these are among the big brands to know. Each brand offers pouches in different flavors and at different strengths.
How can NRT products benefit smokers?
As stated above, the primary benefit of using an NRT is in helping people transition away from smoking, while satisfying nicotine cravings such that withdrawal is largely avoided. And since NRTs do not involve smoke inhalation or tobacco consumption, NRTs help to lower the risk of the most serious health issues associated with smoking –– such as lung disease, heart disease, and certain cancers.
The use of NRT products can also help smokers to avoid health problems that fall beneath those most dire of consequences. For instance, we noted in our previous article on “6 Common Reasons Men Have Problems with Erectile Dysfunction” that heavy smoking can be a culprit behind ED. Additionally, we know that cigarette smoking can damage the skin, with dermatologist Dr. Anjali Mahto having written in a post at News Medical Life Sciences that smoking is an “independent risk factor” for developing wrinkles, and can also lead to slow wound healing and various types of inflammation.
Of course these issues are not as serious as the very worst effects of smoking. But they are additional consequences that can be largely avoided through the use of NRT.
Over the years, NRT products have helped a lot of smokers to quit for good. They won’t work for everyone, but they come in various forms, and have clear potential to reduce smoking without the burden of significant withdrawal symptoms. And for those who do have success with NRT, many of the most harmful effects of smoking can be avoided too.