What Is Nicotine Replacement Therapy?

If you are a smoker and you want to stop smoking, we at BCHIP applaud your decision. Smoking and other nicotine use cause a wide variety of serious health problems throughout the body. The statistics are sobering:

  • Cigarette smoking increases risk of death from all causes in both men and women
  • Smoking is a factor in many different types of cancer
  • It increases risk of developing lung cancer 25 times and causes 90% of lung cancer deaths
  • Smokers are 12 to 13 times more likely to die of COPD
  • Smoking increases risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, the two leading causes of death in the U.S., by 2 to 4 times
  • It damages blood vessels, increasing the risk of blood clots that can reduce blood flow to the brain, legs, and skin
  • Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body
  • Smoking can reduce fertility and cause low birthweight, miscarriage, birth defects, ectopic pregnancy, and stillbirth
  • Smoking has been found to affect bone health in women
  • Smoking damages teeth and gums and can cause tooth loss
  • It can damage your vision and increase risks of blindness, cataracts, and macular degeneration
  • Smokers are 30%-40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and are more likely to experience complications from the diabetes

Besides these very serious health risks, smoking discolors teeth, causes bad breath, and leaves your clothes smelling like smoke. It can also trigger asthma or other problems in those you love who frequently breathe in second-hand smoke. 

So there are many very strong reasons to quit smoking, but because nicotine is addictive, it is extremely difficult to break the habit.

There is also an emotional component to cigarette smoking that needs to be addressed. It helps to have a support system like our free Quit Smoking / Tobacco Cessation Program that will help you stay on track and successfully quit. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is available for those who qualify. This five-session program is available both in-person and virtually. 

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

NRT supplies low doses of nicotine in order to cut down on cravings for nicotine, lessen physical withdrawal symptoms, and help the person more easily quit. It is especially helpful for those who smoke heavily. The more nicotine coursing through your system, the more difficult it is to overcome the addiction, and many people need the help of NRT to successfully break the habit.

NRT does not contain many of the toxins found in cigarettes or other nicotine products. NRT comes in many forms, including gum, inhalers, lozenges, nasal spray, and skin patches. Patches and gum seem to be the most effective because people are more likely to use them properly. Discuss with your doctor which form may be best for you and what dosage you may need.

Nicotine use can cause side effects, and NRT is no exception. Since the nicotine dosage is low, the chances of side effects are small, but you may experience headaches, nausea or other digestive problems, and difficulty sleeping (usually with the patch, and usually only the first few days). 

It is very important NOT to smoke while using NRT. The combined nicotine level could be quite high, causing increased toxins in your body.

NRT is not enough

As mentioned, there is an emotional component to smoking addiction that needs to be addressed in order to successfully kick the habit. Our program will provide you with proven techniques as well as emotional support and mutual encouragement as you face this challenge with others. Visit us at bchip.org/quit-smoking-programs today for more details and to register.


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