An addiction to nicotine is a serious one indeed. Many studies have shown that it is one of the most addictive substances known, and most people will gain a dependency to it soon after they start smoking regularly. When you smoke a cigarette, you body receives an instant rush of nicotine – there is a spike in your nicotine levels which slowly dissipates, and when your nicotine levels drop below a certain point you will crave another spike, in the form of another cigarette.
As a smoker, part of your body’s physical addition to nicotine has to do with relieving it in these “hits,” and it is for this reason that an attempt to quit smoking can be so difficult. The most important thing in any attempt to quit smoking is willpower, and the chances that you will succeed in staying smoke free without the use of willpower are extremely slim. In same cases, however, you can benefit from using a medical aid in addition to your willpower. The most common and well known aids to quitting smoking are those that supply and regulate nicotine in the bloodstream.
A popular choice is nicotine gum. This is gum that resembles ordinary chewing gum, but of course it contains nicotine. The reason nicotine gum can be effective is because is can replicate nicotine spikes in your bloodstream without the need for cigarettes. The problem that some people run into with the nicotine patch – the other popular nicotine supplier – is that a nicotine patch supplies a steady amount of nicotine into your bloodstream. There is no spike, or “hit”, with a patch, and for this reason some people still find themselves craving cigarettes when they use the patch: even though the body is receiving nicotine, it desires the hit that the cigarette provides.
With nicotine gum, you can attempt to replicate this hit without a cigarette. The gum is not chewed like normal gum — rather you hold in your mouth without chewing it for long periods of time, and then give it a few chews when you want a release of nicotine, much as you would take a drag on a cigarette for a quick nicotine hit. A typical guideline for nicotine gum would be to chew it 3-4 times, until you feel a tingling sensation, at which point you should flatten it and place it between your cheek and gum. Repeat the brief chewing process at occasional intervals as necessary. Under no circumstances should nicotine gum be chewed like ordinary gum, as too much nicotine will be released into your bloodstream.
Nicotine Gum comes in 2mg and 4mg strengths (the 4mg is recommended if you smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day.) It is recommended that you use the gum every 1-2 hours throughout the day, for a period of up to 3 months. The only drawback of nicotine gum is that you cannot drink anything except water for 15 minutes before and during chewing. For this reason nicotine gum isn’t helpful at a bar, which is where many ex-smokers need the most help. Despite this, nicotine gum can be an effective tool — when combined with your willpower — in an attempt to quit smoking.