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3.20.2014
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My Health Tip: Smoking Cessation: Which over-the-counter approach will work best for you?

There are many options out there to help you quit, including several over-the-counter products that contain nicotine and come in various forms. Notify your doctor prior to starting something if you have a history of heart disease, diabetes or stomach bleeds. The most important thing is to find something that works for you and stick with it! Here are some over-the-counter options:

Nicotine Patch
The nicotine patch sends nicotine across the skin so you are receiving a constant level of nicotine throughout the day. It comes in a variety of strengths that are based on the number of cigarettes you smoke per day. Other things to keep in mind include:
 

  • Apply patch to clean, dry, hair free area of body.
  • Let your doctor know that you are starting a nicotine product and discuss any potential issues with your health.
  • Remove the patch at night if bizarre or vivid dreams are experienced.
  • Do not smoke with a patch on as it could lead to too much nicotine causing an increase in tremors and anxiety.
  • You may experience redness around the area of the patch.

Nicotine Gum
Nicotine gum contains nicotine that is absorbed in your mouth as you chew. Begin slowly chewing the gum. As you feel a tingling sensation in your mouth, park the gum between your gum and your cheek. As the tingling sensation goes away, begin chewing the gum again. Continue to chew like this for approximately 30 minutes or until the tingling sensation is no longer felt when chewing. Chewing the gum slowly can help avoid irritating the mouth, throat, and stomach. Other things to keep in mind include:
 
  • Be sure to avoid food and beverages 15 minutes before and after chewing nicotine gum.
  • Do not use other nicotine containing products while chewing nicotine gum.
  • Avoid acidic drinks as they can cause irritation to the mouth and esophagus. These include soft drinks, coffee and citrus fruit juices.
  • Nicotine gum may cause irritation in the mouth, throat, and stomach. It may also cause diarrhea.
  • It’s important to use no longer than 12 weeks unless approved by your doctor.


Nicotine lozenge
The nicotine lozenge comes in the form of hard candy that is intended to be sucked on. Nicotine is absorbed through the mouth as the hard candy is dissolved in the saliva. Other things to keep in mind are:
 
  • Be sure to avoid food and beverages 15 minutes before and after sucking a nicotine lozenge.
  • Nicotine lozenges may cause irritation in the mouth, throat and stomach. They may also cause diarrhea.
  • It’s important to use no longer than 12 weeks unless approved by your doctor.


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