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Nicotine Gum Addiction

The following write-up will throw some light on nicotine gum, and its contents, in a bid to explain how being addicted to it can turn out to be harmful for your health. Read on...
Basically, addiction in any form is harmful for your health, and being addicted to nicotine gum is no exception. The term 'addiction', which refers to an abnormal dependence on something which is psychologically or physically habit forming, is most often used in context of narcotics, alcohol and other such substances. When we talk about addiction, one of the first things to come to your mind is likely to be nicotine. When our body gets used to nicotine, it starts craving for more and more of the same. This may take many people by surprise, but a person can also get addicted to nicotine when he uses nicotine gum (which is used as a tool to help a person stop smoking) for a prolonged duration.

What is a Nicotine Gum and How Does it Work?
As a part of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), a nicotine gum, i.e. a chewing gum loaded with nicotine, is used to satiate the person's craving for nicotine. Simply put, nicotine gum is considered to be an alternative for nicotine obtained from smoking or chewing tobacco; both of which are considered to be a lot harmful than it. A single unit of nicotine gum or nicotine lozenge contains anywhere between 2-4 mg of nicotine, which is almost the same amount that a cigarette contains. When a person chews this gum, the nicotine in it is absorbed by tissues in the mouth and transferred to the bloodstream. This triggers the same effect on the body as cigarettes do, but without exposing the person to all those harmful chemicals in cigarettes.

What is Nicotine Gum Addiction?
A nicotine gum is recommended for a stipulated period, generally a period of three months, wherein a person is more likely to give in to craving for nicotine. However, people get so used to it in these three months, that they can't cease using it even after the recommended period has elapsed. A recent survey revealed that approximately 5-9 percent of the people who resort to nicotine gum as a part of nicotine replacement therapy continue to use it for extended period, thus getting addicted to it. The fact that it is available as an over-the-counter stop smoking aid makes it readily available and thus adds to the woes. In this entire process, the person does quit smoking but gets addicted to an entirely new source of nicotine.

Is Nicotine Gum Harmful for Health?
There is no doubt about the fact nicotine gum is less harmful as compared to smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco, but that doesn't mean it cannot harm you at all. Even though it's one of the most effective tool for giving up smoking, one cannot ignore the fact that it contains nicotine and the chances of a person getting addicted to nicotine cannot be ruled out at all. More recently, several risks of nicotine gum, including gum diseases and birth defects, have put it under the scanner, thus questioning its very credibility as a tool for smoking cessation. Basically, one has to understand the fact that nicotine in any form or any quantity is harmful for the health, especially when used for prolonged duration.

How to Overcome This Addiction?
As we mentioned earlier, the chances of a person getting addicted to nicotine gum over a period cannot be ignored. The most obvious symptom of nicotine gum addiction would be an increased craving for the same. As a part of nicotine addiction recovery, you will have to keep a track of the number of gums you consume daily and cut down on its consumption gradually. If you have been using nicotine gum for more than the recommended period, you will have to stop using the same and consult the medical practitioner for further advise. Gradually replacing nicotine gum with regular mint gum is yet another option which can help you get rid of your addiction of the same.

The age-old adage prevention is better than cure does come handy in this case. If you resort to nicotine gum as a tool to stop smoking, you will have to follow some simple tips to ensure that you don't get addicted to it. These simple tips include following the guidelines given by the medical practitioner, following the program as directed by the practitioner, decreasing the use of nicotine gum gradually, etc. Though simple, these steps are quite effective when it comes to use of nicotine gum to quit smoking.
By Abhijit Naik
Published: 11/10/2010
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