Why Nicotine-Based Stop Smoking Products Just Don't Work
Thousands of people try nicotine-based stop smoking products such as patches, inhalers or gums every single day. Even stop smoking hand lotions are making their way on scene. The fact, however remains that for a great majority of people trying these products, they simply do not work. Read on to find out why.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) refers to the use of nicotine in alternative delivery methods, whether it is a patch, pill, gum, inhaler, or lozenge. There is even a new stop smoking hand lotion that is sure to be a big seller. The idea is for a person to use the NRT instead of smoking a cigarette. Since it is the carcinogens in cigarettes that kill people and not the nicotine, NRT is considered to be relatively safe.
As a person is participating in the NRT, they are instructed not to smoke cigarettes, thus weaning them from the actual habit and routine of smoking the cigarettes. In theory, a person can slowly decrease the amount of NRT until they have stopped smoking completely and can stop the NRT.
Although the idea is impressive and the technology available, this simply does not work for most people. According to Wikipedia, only 7% of people attempting to stop smoking using NRT were still smoke-free after 6 months. Just 7%! Even with "high intensity counseling" the number only jumps to 22%.
The reason for this is simple if you understand how addiction to smoking takes place. Notice we said, "addiction to smoking," and not addiction to nicotine. There are two types of addiction to deal with when a person gets hooked on smoking, physical and psychological.
The physical addition is the addiction to nicotine itself. In other words, once your body has nicotine in its system for a period of time, it begins to adapt, thinking that a level of nicotine in the system is normal. After a short period of time without nicotine, our bodies, always seeking equilibrium, send a craving to our brain in an attempt to get the nicotine which it thinks is normal.
The psychological addiction to nicotine is much more complicated. In a nutshell, the psychological addiction has been developed over time and consists of the habit of smoking the cigarettes and the routine that has been created. Relating smoking to pleasurable experiences or "something to do" in times of boredom or stress also helps to build a strong psychological dependency on smoking cigarettes.
When a person decides to use a form of NRT in an attempt to quit smoking, he or she uses the patch (or other delivery method) to give the body the nicotine it thinks it needs. This allows the person to work on breaking the psychological habits and routines that we discussed above. After several weeks of using the NRT, most people have already given up due to the fact that they are still getting cravings for cigarettes. These cravings are actually psychological cravings, not physical cravings. Thinking that the NRT is not working, they give up altogether while in actuality, the NRT was working just fine. It was the psychological cravings for smoking that were manifesting themselves, not the cravings for nicotine.
For the people that make it past the first several days and eventually several weeks, a sense of accomplishment begins to set in. They feel really good about what they are doing and essentially beat their psychological addiction to smoking. Shortly thereafter, they are ready to discontinue the NRT and have a go at being a non-smoker.
Here's why NRT doesn't work for most people. During the course of the NRT, although a person believes they have beat their addiction to smoking (because they haven't taken a puff in weeks), they have still been feeding their physical addiction to nicotine! All the time invested in stopping the psychological dependence goes right out the door when the person finally stops feeding their body the nicotine.
The person may have a strong hold on the psychological withdrawal, but the physical addiction is still in full swing. Their body still thinks that a certain level of nicotine in the system is normal. As soon as the nicotine is stopped, the body seeks equilibrium. Where's my nicotine! It immediately sends cravings to the person's brain, most of the time very strong cravings. After a couple of days (if that long) the desire to smoke is so strong that more than 90% of people will have started their smoking habit again, and once a single puff is taken, it starts all over again. The addiction, both physical and psychological, are ingrained back into the mind of the smoker just as it was weeks ago when they decided to start NRT in the first place.
So, as you can see, the issue that so many people don't understand is that while they are using NRT, they continue feeding their body the very drug that it so strongly desires. Once a person is ready to discontinue the NRT, their body still craves the drug and will usually get what it wants. Even with intensive counseling, only 22% of people attempting to stop smoking using NRT will have remained smoke-free after 6 months.
The only way that we have found to stop smoking that is effective is to fight both addictions at the same time. By eliminating both the physical and psychological withdrawals simultaneously, a person can effectively kick the habit quickly, forever and easier than they ever thought possible. Non-nicotine-based products are now available.
About The Author
Allen Jones is a smoking cessation specialist based in Tampa, Florida. Visit his website to find the best non-nicotine stop smoking products on the market today. Download his Stop Smoking eBook and be on your way to a happy, healthy smoke-free life.
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