Smoking Reduction Therapy

Nicotine Nasal Spray: Nicotine is absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream through a prescription nasal spray. The spray eliminates cravings and withdrawal symptoms when used. The FDA alerts the user to addictive properties inherent in the nasal spray and does not allow it to be prescribed for longer than 6 months. Side effects include: runny nose, sneezing, throat irritation, coughing, watery eyes and nasal irritation. Nasal spray is not recommended for those with allergies, asthma, nasal polyps or sinus problems. See your doctor for alternatives.

Nicotine inhaler- A prescription method developed in 1998. The inhaler is similar to smoking a cigarette, using a plastic tube that contains a nicotine cartridge. The quitter puffs on the inhaler to administer a nicotine vapor. Recommended dosage: 6-16 cartridges per day for up to 6 months.

Side effects: coughing, throat irritation, upset stomach.

These are the most expensive form of NRT.

The Lozenge- Nicotine lozenges are the newest NRT on the market. The FDA approved an over-the-counter smoking cessation aid in a lozenge called the Commit. The lozenge is available in 2mg and 4mg. As with the gum, the quitter administers as need and cravings surface. The manufacturer recommends a 12 week program, 1 lozenge every 1-2 hours for 6 weeks. Tapering off gradually by using one lozenge every 2-4 hours for week 7 through week 9 and one lozenge every 4-8 hours for the final two weeks.

The Commit manufacturer recommends:

“Stop all tobacco use when beginning therapy with the lozenge.

Do not eat or drink for 15 minutes before using the lozenge. (Some beverages can reduce the effectiveness of the lozenge).

Suck on the lozenge until it dissolves. Do not bite or chew it like a hard candy, and do not swallow it.

Do not use more than 5 lozenges in 6 hours, or more than 20 lozenges total per day.

Stop using the lozenge after 12 weeks. If you still feel you need to use the lozenge, talk to your doctor.

Do not use the lozenge if you continue to smoke, chew tobacco, use snuff or any other product containing nicotine (e.g., nicotine patch or gum).”

Side effects: sleeping problems, nausea, coughing, headache, heartburn, hiccups and flatulence (gas).

Despite the side effects, NRT has been proven to be an effective tool for smokers who decide it is time to quit. No one method is better than any other and the smoker/quitter can decide for themselves which method might help them the most. Is it that you need to replace the oral fixation that smoking provides and will be missed with the cessation of smoking? Is it important not to be reminded of smoking, using a once a day convenience??

Aside from NRT, there are also prescription medications you can ask your doctor about to assist you with quitting smoking. Some are used in conjunction with NRT. Bupropion (Zyban) and Varenicline (Chantix) are the two new prescription medications available. Zyban is an antidepressant and Chantix is specific designed to help you quit smoking. Ask your doctor what is right for you.