Nicotine is a drug substance found in tobacco products that can be just as addictive as alcohol, cocaine, or heroin. When a smoker attempts to quit cold turkey, they may experience any number of nicotine withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and changes in appetite. While not the only tool to help people on the path to quitting, smoking cessation products, including nicotine replacement therapies, are medicines that are used to help smokers successfully kick this highly addictive and potentially life-threatening habit.
Smoking Cessation Treatments
Nicotine replacement therapies are smoking cessation products that are intended to slowly wean a smoker off cigarettes without exposing them to other harmful chemicals found in tobacco products. This gradual process helps reduce withdrawal symptoms, including nicotine cravings, and increases a person’s chances of quitting successfully. Use of these products increase the rate of quitting by as much as 50-70 percent. Many products are available to consumers in lozenge, gum, and skin patch forms.
OTC active ingredients in smoking cessation products:
Safe Use Tips
- Always read the Drug Facts label carefully. The label tells you everything you need to know about the medicine, including the ingredients, what you are supposed to use it for, how much you should take, and when you should not take the product.
- Smoking cessation products are most successful when a smoker truly wants to quit.
- Be sure to read the enclosed user’s guide thoroughly before using a smoking cessation product.
- If you are using a patch, make certain you remove it before undergoing a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedure in order to avoid possible burns.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, do not use a smoking cessation product unless you are under the supervision of a healthcare provider.
- Do not use a smoking cessation product in combination with another smoking cessation product or if you continue to smoke, chew tobacco, or use snuff.
- Speak with a healthcare provider or pharmacist before using a smoking cessation product if you are on a prescription drug for depression or asthma.
- Stop use and ask a healthcare provider if you get symptoms of nicotine overdose such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, or rapid heartbeat.
- Make certain that you follow the appropriate product instructions and related quitting schedule that matches the amount of cigarettes you smoke per day.
- Be sure to complete the entire quit smoking program as recommended on the product labeling, but do not extend the program. If you still feel the need to use a smoking cessation product, talk to your healthcare provider.
- Keep smoking cessation products and all medicines out of the sight and reach of children.
- OTC Smoking cessation products are not labeled for use in children under the age of 18. If you are the parent or caregiver of a child under the age of 18, talk to a healthcare provider before giving a smoking cessation to your child.
- Take special care to dispose of smoking cessation products properly. Used products may have enough nicotine to poison children.
- If a child accidentally swallows a discarded smoking cessation product, immediately contact a healthcare provider or the poison control national helpline at 800.222.1222.