NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) is one way to obtain nicotine without actually smoking to help reduce nicotine craving and withdrawal symptoms and help a stop smoking. NRT comes in many different forms and include the nicotine patch, nicotine gum, nicotine inhaler and nicotine spray.

The nicotine patch looks similar to a Band Aid and is stuck onto the skin where it releases a steady dose of nicotine via the skin and into the bloodstream over a 24 hour period. After this time the patch is removed and replaced with a fresh patch. Each patch should be placed onto a different area of skin than the previous patch to avoid skin irritation.

Nicotine gum looks like regular gum but is used in a different way. With nicotine gum you chew the gum for a short period of time and then place it between your cheek and gum where it takes effect. This gum in itself can become addictive and so should not be used as a substitute for cigarettes and only used for the recommended period of time.

A nicotine inhaler which is available by prescription is made of plastic and shaped like a cigarette and is held and inhaled on in the same fashion that a regular cigarette would be. Inside the inhaler is a nicotine cartridge and a smoker will use between 6 to 16 cartridges each day with the dose being reduced over a period of 6 to 12 weeks.

Finally the nicotine nasal spray which is also available by prescription comes in the form of a pump bottle which is sprayed into each nostril where it attaches to the nasal lining and is then absorbed into the bloodstream. Each bottle of nasal spray contains around 200 sprays and the number of time the spray is used each day is reduced over a period of three months.

People with heart conditions are women who are pregnanat or breastfeeding are reccomended to consult their doctor before using any NRT product and then follow their advice carefully.

NRT is however no magic cure to stop smoking and although the patch, gum, inhaler and spray may work for one smoker they will not work for every smoker. For some people finding additional support in the form of group counselling or one-on-one counselling can make a big difference between giving up smoking temporarily or permanently. For more advice on these groups talk with your doctor and he or she should be able to direct you to a group in your local community.

Finally if NRT products don't work the first time you use them then try them again or choose a different approach such as acupuncture, aromatherapy or hypnosis and keep trying to stop smoking until you finally give up smoking cigarettes for good.

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