Nicotine addiction – advice for those using licensed nicotine replacement or vapes/ecigarettes
Smokefree Norfolk is a stop smoking service and is unable to support long term nicotine users however we have put together this helpful guide for those wishing to stop nicotine use completely.
Licensed nicotine replacement includes nicotine patches, lozenges, gum and mouth or nasal sprays. All of these are very useful aids to quitting smoking however some people struggle to stop using them after the recommended 12 weeks.
If you have not smoked at all for 12 weeks, nicotine addiction has ended. This is because only cigarettes and tobacco products keep you addicted to nicotine due to their fast delivery of nicotine to the brain of around 10 seconds.
Nicotine replacement products are not addictive due to the fact they are delivered much more slowly to the brain through the skin or lining of the mouth. The time it takes for these to reach the brain varies from 1-30 minutes. This is too slow to maintain addiction.
Often, if you have used nicotine replacement to quit smoking, you think that it is the product which is preventing you from smoking. However, this is not the case. It is your habit changes plus the act of not smoking which stops nicotine addiction. That said, some people find it difficult to let go of these products and this guide is designed to show you how this can be achieved.
Firstly, it is important to recognise your achievement in quitting smoking. Nicotine is not particularly harmful in small amounts. The harm from smoking comes from the 7,000 chemicals in tobacco so you have already taken a massive step towards a healthier life.
If you are using a product such as gum or lozenges, count out the number you use each day into a separate container and reduce the number you use by 1 or 2 per day over a few weeks until you reach zero. You can intersperse them with ordinary gum or mints if this helps you with the habit.
If you are using a nicotine spray (mouth or nasal), you can either count the number of times you use it daily and reduce by a few each day or you can use it at timed intervals and increase the time between uses each day. Some people find using a mint breath freshening mouth spray helps them with this.
Just the act of using a Nicotine replacement product can become habit forming. For this reason, you may find it easier to switch to nicotine patches and stop using the product altogether. You can obtain patches in 3 different strengths and can reduce these over a maximum timeframe of 12 weeks.
You may find it helpful to keep the product you are using out of sight such as in a cupboard. Just like with smoking, the sight of the product can trigger the thought of using them so keeping them hidden means you may naturally use them less.
Coming off a vape/ecigarette
If you want to continue to use the vape to help with social or habit triggers
If you want to stop the vape immediately