It’s common knowledge that nicotine is the addictive substance in tobacco products that makes it hard for smokers to quit.
However, how much do you know about nicotine and its use in NRT products?
In this article, we’re looking at what nicotine is, how it’s manufactured, and how nicotine is being used in NRT products to help people quit smoking in a safe manner.
How nicotine is produced
The nicotine found in tobacco products is derived from tobacco plants, which are part of the nightshade family of plants. There are various species of tobacco plants, the scientific name for the type of nicotine used in tobacco products is Nicotiana tabacum.
Nicotine can actually be manufactured in two ways – it’s either extracted from the tobacco plant, or it’s produced synthetically.
Synthetic nicotine or ‘tobacco-free nicotine’ is a man-made substance. It can be produced in several ways but is typically regarded as having no real differences from nicotine extracted from tobacco plant leaves.
Why Use NRT Products?
Nicotine is the main active ingredient in tobacco products that cause users to become addicted. However, it’s the other chemicals in tobacco products that are harmful, not nicotine on its own.
When someone tries to quit smoking, typically they will experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings. These cravings are signals from the brain indicating that the body is missing nicotine.
It’s known that only around 3 of every 100 people who attempt to quit smoking ‘cold turkey’ do so successfully. This number increases by 50-60% when using NRT products as a smoking cessation aid.
Most of this success is related to the fact that NRT products help users keep cravings and withdrawal symptoms at bay. Without the overwhelming desire to use a tobacco-related product, the user can move on to NRT products and slowly taper off their use.
How nicotine is used in NRT products
Here is a look at how nicotine is used in some of the most popular NRT products:
Nicotine gum – Nicotine gums are not chewed like regular gum. They are chewed intermittently and held in the mouth for a recommended duration based on the strength.
Gums are typically available in 2 and 4 mg dosage forms. They are designed to release nicotine into the body slower than cigarettes and at the user’s discretion.
Nicotine patches – Nicotine patches contain a large amount of nicotine and are designed to release nicotine slowly and continuously for several hours a day.
Patches are one of the most popular NRT products as they are discrete and slowly release nicotine over long periods.
Nicotine inhalers deliver nicotine in a way most similar to that of smoking and many smokers prefer this method of delivery when quitting smoking.