Effects of Smoking and Alcohol

What is the Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)?

Last updated on October 20th, 2022 at 07:46 am

Nicotine replacement therapy (or NRT) is a type of medication used to help smokers quit smoking. Learn more about NRT here! Nicotine replacement therapy (also known as nicotine patch or nicotine gum) is medicine used to treat tobacco addiction.

Smoking is a slow poison, and many cannot understand this at the right time. By the time you realise how much harm it has caused, the situation can be quite bad. It is important to quit smoking as it affects almost every part of the human body. Smoking is deleterious to one’s health and affects the mortality rate, too. Quitting smoking can increase your lifespan as well as improve the quality of life.

Quitting smoking can be one of the hardest things to do. Fighting the constant urge to smoke can be extremely difficult, not only emotionally but physically, too. However, deciding that you are ready to quit is the first step towards a tobacco-free life. According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco use takes about 8 million lives every year across the globe. So no day to waste, take a pledge to quit smoking! Let’s understand how Nicotine Replacement Therapy and other strategies can help a person quit.

What is Nicotine Replacement Therapy?

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is the most commonly used family of quit smoking medications. NRT reduces withdrawal feelings by giving you a small controlled amount of nicotine but none of the other dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes. This small amount of nicotine helps satisfy your craving for nicotine and reduces the urge to smoke. 

Doctors and other medical experts think NRT is one of the most helpful tools smokers can use to quit. Some smokers have mild-to-moderate side effects. However, research shows that NRT is safe and effective. NRT can be an important part of almost every smoker’s quit-smoking strategy.

NRT comes in a variety of forms that are used in different ways. You can choose which forms you like best. Some NRT products work better than others for some people. Some people might prefer certain NRT products instead of others.

Types of Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Nicotine replacement therapies help smokers quit tobacco. It includes several options, like nicotine gums, patches, lozenges, etc. These products supply low doses of nicotine but are free of toxins found in a cigarette. When trying to quit smoking, the toughest part is to fight the urge to smoke again. NRT helps you overcome these cravings, making it easier to quit. WHO recommends that smokers take immediate steps to quit by using proven methods such as toll-free quit-lines, mobile text-messaging programs, and nicotine replacement therapies. 

NRT TypesHow to Get ThemHow to Use?
PatchOver the CounterPlace on the skin
Gives a small and steady amount of nicotine
GumOver the CounterChew to release nicotine
Chew until you get a tingling feeling, then place between cheek and gums
LozengeOver the CounterPlace in the mouth like hard candy
Releases nicotine as it slowly dissolves in the mouth
InhalerPrescriptionCartridge attached to a mouthpiece
Inhaling through the mouthpiece gives a specific amount of nicotine
Nasal SprayPrescriptionPump bottle containing nicotine
Put into nose and spray

When trying to quit, initially you will experience strong cravings, which can make you grab those cigarettes again. NRT can temporarily help in controlling cravings. It can thus support your willpower and help curb initial cravings, which can then ultimately help you quit smoking. The goal of therapy is to cut down on cravings for nicotine and ease the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.

Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal can also begin when trying to quit. Intense craving, sweating, nausea, anxiety, irritability, and headache are a few symptoms. NRT may also help eliminate these withdrawal symptoms. Doctors often recommend it and studies show it’s safe and effective. In fact, NRT is scientifically proven to double your chances of quitting smoking.

To quit smoking, constant motivation plays an important role. One needs to understand the harmful effects of smoking and how important it is to quit. Being aware from an early stage can help prevent the risk of stroke, heart disease, kidney failure, and lung disease. If you find it too hard to quit, you must seek medical help, which will cover various aspects, including counseling sessions, lab investigations, medication, and telecommunication, to provide the right motivation when required. 

Does Smoking Put you at Greater Risk of COVID-19?

Smoking and Covid-19 Study – Tobacco use is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancer, and many other debilitating health conditions. The year 2020 falls amid a global pandemic and the situation is more worrisome. According to the World Health Organization, smokers are more vulnerable to Covid-19 infection as the act of smoking involves fingers and possibly contaminated cigarettes come in contact with lips. This increases the possibility of transmission of the virus from hand to mouth.

But that’s not it. Smokers are also at higher risk of catching more severe Covid-19 infection as they may already have lung disease and/or their lung capacity is already reduced. Smoking any kind of tobacco reduces lung capacity and increases the risk of many respiratory infections and can increase the severity of respiratory diseases. COVID-19 is an infectious disease that primarily attacks the lungs. Smoking impairs lung function, making it harder for the body to fight off coronaviruses and other respiratory diseases. Research suggests that smokers are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 outcomes and death, as per a statement by the World Health Organization. 

It is Never too Late to Quit, and it is Possible!

Friends and family play an important role in helping a loved one quit. So, ask for help! Talking to someone when experiencing cravings might help, as it will distract your mind along with emotional support. Quitting takes time. Be very careful in avoiding triggers and situational reflexes. You have to repeatedly remind yourself not to smoke, to curb those cravings and stay distracted. Remember, it’s never too late to quit, and it is possible!

You may also be interested in reading about the Biohacking Guide


Nicotine replacement therapy (or NRT) is a type of medication used to help smokers quit smoking. Nicotine replacement therapy (also known as nicotine patch or nicotine gum) is medicine used to treat tobacco addiction.

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