Smoking has a multitude of adverse effects on our body. Smokers have twice the risk of fatal heart disease, ten times the risk of lung cancer, and several times the risk of cancers of mouth, throat, esophagus or food pipe, pancreas, kidney and bladder; a two- to three- fold higher incidence of stroke and ulcers in stomach that heal at a slower speed than in non-smokers; a two to four fold greater risk of fractures of hip, wrist and spine; four times the risk of pneumonia; and a two fold chance of developing cataracts. Both active and passive smoking can lead to a deterioration in the elasticity of arterial walls and progress of hardening of arteries. Diabetic individuals who smoke, may suffer from accelerated kidney damage. Nicotine is highly addictive and raises brain levels of a neurotransmitter dopamine. Brain changes in nicotine withdrawal are similar to those that occur during withdrawal of other abusive chemicals. The various healthy options for chain smokers who wish to quit, include the following :
Facts About Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Smoking cessation is associated with a wide array of benefits such as a reduced risk of heart attacks, stroke, reversal of chronic bronchitis and an increase in life expectancy.
1. Nicotine Patch
This is a preferred approach as a nicotine replacement therapy. At the start of each day, the person who wishes to quit smoking, should apply a new nicotine patch on a relatively hairless area, anywhere between the neck and the waist. The person should refrain from smoking during the 8 week therapy. Nicotine is delivered in a dose of 21 mg every 24 hours for initial 4 weeks, then 14 mg every 24 hours for the next 2 weeks, and in a dose of 7 mg every 24 hours for further 2 weeks. This dose has to be individualized based on specific characteristics, such as the degree of habituation. Up to around 50% of people using a nicotine patch will develop mild local skin reactions that would heal with the use of mild steroids, such as hydrocortisone cream (2.5%) or triamcinolone cream (0.5%) and rotating patch sites. In fewer people do these reactions necessitate the discontinuation of nicotine patch. Smokers with cardiovascular problems, such as previous heart attacks (within 4 weeks), heart rhythm disturbances, angina, and pregnant and lactating smokers should be encouraged to quit smoking without the use of any replacement therapy.
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2. Nicotine Gum
Nicotine gum is available in doses of 2 mg and 4 mg per piece. A person who wishes to quit should start with the 2 mg gum initially. The 4 mg gum is suited for individuals who have failed to quit with the 2 mg gum, but remain motivated to quit, and/or are highly dependent on nicotine. The gum is preferred during the first few months of a quit attempt. The duration of nicotine gum therapy can be tailored as per individual requirements. Those using 2 mg strength should use not more than 30 pieces per day, whereas those using 4 mg strength should not exceed 20 pieces per day. One should refrain from smoking while using the gum. it should be chewed slowly until a "peppery" taste emerges, then "parked" between cheek and gum to facilitate nicotine absorption through oral mucosa. It should be slowly and intermittently chewed and parked for about 30 minutes. Acidic beverages, such as coffee, and soft drinks interfere with the absorption of nicotine, so eating and drinking anything except water, should be avoided for 15 minutes before and during chewing. Common adverse effects of nicotine chewing gum include mouth soreness, hiccups, dyspepsia and jaw ache. These effects are mild and transient, and can be alleviated by a correct chewing technique. Individuals suffering from cardiovascular ailments, and pregnant and lactating smokers should preferrably attempt cessation without any replacement therapy. Nicotine gum can be used in these conditions only when its benefits outweigh the risks associated with it.
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