Statistics indicate that most smokers make several attempts, some say up to an average of 7 attempts, to quit before they succeed. This statistic may sound dismal at first, but if you look at it the right way, it's actually quite uplifting. Smoking cessation is, as everyone admits, quite difficult, and if you don't succeed the first time, that doesn't mean you won't succeed after subsequent attempts. However, if you're really serious about quitting, it's important to do it right. There are lots of different ways to quit, from cold turkey to prescription drugs to hypnosis, but none of them will work unless you really want to quit and unless you go about it according to methods that have proven to be successful.
One common smoking cessation aid is nicotine gum. Nicotine gum comes in a variety of different flavors and is usually available in 4mg and 2mg doses. The higher nicotine content gum is, according to manufacturers, appropriate for more frequent smokers who smoke their first cigarette of the day within 30 minutes of waking up. Lighter smokers who smoke their first cigarette after they have been awake for 30 minutes or more should choose the 2mg gum. However, just buying the right dose and chewing the gum at random is not necessarily the best way to quit smoking.
Chew Gum to Keep Cravings Away
Like any medicine, nicotine gum is most effective when it is used right. Many people experience failure with nicotine gum because they make the mistake of trying to use it in the same way that they would use cigarettes. For most smokers, smoking a cigarette will immediately eliminate a nicotine craving and provide the other benefits that make smoking so addictive. Nicotine gum, however, doesn't release nicotine into the bloodstream as quickly and efficiently as cigarettes do, so chewing nicotine gum only when a strong craving hits will often not eliminate the craving, and in some cases can even make the craving more intense. Thus, well-intentioned smokers trying to use gum to quit can quickly relapse when they find that the gum is not an effective replacement for cigarettes.
Gum Can't Just Replace Cigarettes
The truth is, nicotine gum isn't supposed to be an outright replacement for cigarettes. Just like nicotine patches, nicotine gum is designed to be a gradual nicotine delivery system that will help cravings stay away long enough for the individual to wean herself or himself off nicotine, kicking the addiction. Instead of using gum when a craving strikes, its best to use the gum to prevent strong cravings from showing up at all. Giving your body a slow and steady supply of nicotine will keep cravings at bay so you don't feel that uncontrollable urge to light up.
Find the Method That's Right For You
The most reliable way to accomplish craving prevention with gum is, of course, to follow the manufacturer's instructions. However, as with any health issue, one-size-fits-all directions may not always be the best fit for each individual. All smokers have different smoking habits, different triggers, and different nicotine tolerances, so it's important to use the manufacturer's directions for use as a baseline that can guide you to the cessation method that works best for your unique needs. Another thing that's important to realize about the printed directions is that the manufacturer wants to be on the safe side, and may instruct you to use more of the gum than you really need in order to be sure that smokers of all types would benefit from using the gum. This can create the paradoxical situation of increasing the level of nicotine addiction before weaning it off.
Tips For Using Nicotine Gum to Quit Smoking
Here are some tips to find the right way for you as an individual to use nicotine gum. When you first purchase the gum, try a piece to see how you react. Make sure to chew the gum long enough for all the nicotine to absorb into your system (usually about 30 minutes). After that, see how long it takes for the very beginnings of a craving to occur. If you can wait 60 minutes before you feel like smoking again, try chewing a piece of gum every 45 minutes or so to keep the cravings at bay. If it takes 3 hours before you have another craving, you probably don't need to chew a piece quite as often. Also, always keep in mind that it's difficult to quit smoking, even when you use a cessation aid like nicotine gum. When it gets difficult, don't give up! Many people have successfully quit smoking, and you can too. Focus on doing it right and finding the method that's best for you, and your chances of success will increase dramatically.