How Does NRT Help Me Give Up Smoking?
NRT safely provides a small amount of nicotine that helps to suppress the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal experienced by smokers when they quit smoking. Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal include irritation, anxiety, fatigue, mild depression, and nicotine cravings. If you are a heavy smoker who smokes more than a pack of cigarettes a day then you are more likely to experience significant nicotine withdrawal symptoms once you stop smoking. NRT's contain only a fraction of nicotine than you would find in a cigarette. It offers a markedly safer method of absorbing nicotine without any of the harmful toxins and carcinogens, like tar and carbon monoxide, contained in cigarettes.
NRT is most beneficial during the first six weeks of the cessation of smoking. It has been suggested that the first three days without cigarettes are probably the most difficult but for some the first two weeks of abstinence are just as likely to see a relapse into smoking. The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal may persist for weeks or even months.
It has been estimated that only 5% of heavy smokers who smoke more than 15 cigarettes daily and try to quit 'cold turkey' actually succeed. The estimated background rate for smokers to stop smoking without any assistance is only about 1.5% annually. It is widely accepted that NRT will roughly double your chances of quitting smoking. Tests have shown that approximately 1 in 4 people who quit using NRT patches remained smoke-free after one year. This may not seem that good until you realize that this is quite successful when compared with the quit rates for other addictive substances. It has been observed that a high proportion of addicts and people recovering from addictions to other drugs smoke cigarettes. The statistical chances of these people giving up smoking are probably even less than that mentioned above. Various statistics, however, cannot take into account your personal level of motivation to quit and your level of dependency on nicotine. If you are not truly committed to quitting smoking then NRT will most likely not be able to do it all for you. A lack of application can reduce your chances of quitting to zero, and zero doubled is still zero!
NRT gradually allows you to reduce the amount of nicotine that your body receives. For example, you can reduce the strength of the patch that you use or use less pieces of gum daily. They allow you to wean yourself off your dependence on nicotine in a safe, controlled way. By helping the user overcome their physiological addiction to nicotine it helps them work on the behavioural side of their smoking habit. You are left free to concentrate on dealing with everyday events without responding to the social triggers that used to make you want a cigarette.