Smoking cigarettes can quickly become a daily habit. This is especially true for chain smokers who immediately light one cigarette after finishing another.
The constant smoke inhalation involved in chain smoking means you’re at a higher risk of developing chronic conditions, including heart disease and stroke. Our article “Why the Obsession with Cigarettes Needs to End” notes that more than 16 million people already have one disease from smoking, and chain smokers are more likely to develop more.
If you're a chain smoker who wants to quit but doesn't know where to start, consider nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Here's what you need to know about it.
What is NRT?
NRT is a medically-approved method of helping tobacco-dependent people quit smoking. Smokefree.gov’s post “Using Nicotine Replacement Therapy” notes how the process involves reducing cigarette withdrawal feelings by giving you limited amounts of nicotine. This makes it an effective treatment for chain smokers because it allows you to satisfy your nicotine cravings and sustainably lower your impulse to smoke over time. NRT is thus considered more effective than other quitting methods, like the “cold turkey” approach requiring you to stop smoking all at once. The sudden change is likely to cause withdrawal symptoms, including headaches and anxiety, prompting you to fall back into the habit of smoking.
Fortunately, there are several NRT products available that you can choose from according to your preference. Here's what you need to know about how to use them.
A Guide to Using NRT Products for Smoking Cessation
Nicotine pouches are oral products kept in the mouth for nicotine absorption and then disposed of after an hour. They’re incredibly discreet, so you can use them in public. It can also give you the feeling of having something like a cigarette in your mouth.
A brand worth looking into is ZYN, which offers various flavors ranging from peppermint and cinnamon. They also come in different strengths to match your previous nicotine consumption as a chain smoker. However, it's still ideal to use these pouches in moderation. Prilla’s post on “What are the Side Effects of ZYN Pouches” states that they can cause an upset stomach and mouth soreness. These will most likely result from mint flavors that cool your stomach and gums, making them sensitive. If you continue experiencing discomfort, try non-mint flavors or use ZYN’s unflavored variants.
Nicotine patches are transdermal products that stick to your skin for up to 24 hours. These make them convenient since you’ll get a gradual nicotine dose throughout the day—especially as a former chain smoker—and you’ll only have to change them once daily.
A famous patch brand is Nicorderm CQ. These transparent patches make it easy to hide under clothing or bare skin. Similar to pouches, you may experience side effects when using these products. Nicoderm CQ patches can induce allergic reactions, as they can cause rashes due to staying on your skin for long periods of time. As such, it's best to use them as instructed on the package. If symptoms persist, consult your physician to avoid further harm and get advice on other NRT products you can use.
To make NRT treatment more effective, you can ask your doctor to prescribe smoking cessation medication. These work internally to relieve smoking withdrawal symptoms. They can thus boost the effects of NRT products like those mentioned above—and ultimately help you quit.
The most effective medicine is Varenicline. Commonly known as “Chantix," it blocks the dopamine receptors in your brain when you use cigarettes, discouraging you from continuing the habit. A guide to Varenicline outlines how it can induce nausea and unusual dreams as side effects, so ask your doctor to change your prescription if using the former becomes too unpleasant.
Chain smoking is a challenging vice to quit. Still, it’s possible to stop smoking through NRT and medication.