Quit Smoking Support
Quitting Smoking Using The Nicotrol Inhaler
The nicotine inhaler is a cigarette-type device made up of a cartridge containing nicotine with menthol, and a mouthpiece. When air is inhaled through the device, it is saturated with nicotine, which is then absorbed through the lining of the mouth and upper esophagus. The absorption of nicotine is slower than from a regular cigarette, with peak nicotine doses occurring 10 to 15 minutes after the end of puffing. Each puff contains about 10 times less nicotine than a puff of a cigarette. The best results have been achieved by frequent puffing for 20 or more minutes. You can use from 6 to 16 cartridges throughout the day to relieve withdrawal symptoms or to control the urge to smoke. The initial use of less than two cartridges a day was associated with a lesser likelihood of success.
The inhaler works on much the same principle as the gum, but they are different in design. Nicotine inhalers are shaped like little cigarettes, and when you suck on them they release a mist of nicotine stuff into your lungs. The nasal spray is like the product you use for nasal congestion; you just pump it into your nostril and it sprays nicotine stuff up there.
The advantages of these are that they work much more quickly than the gum; they can be used in any situation and whenever they are needed (within the constraints set by the package directions); and the inhaler is very much like a cigarette, so it makes a good replacement.
The disadvantages are that they can have many side effects like burning of the nasal tissues or throat, stomach ache, nausea, etc.; they are more expensive than the gum; and, finally, the inhaler might be too good of a replacement, as it's quite a bit like continuing to smoke.
At this time, the nicotine inhaler is available only by prescription, but insurance will cover this medication in New Mexico and Texas. The cost ranges from $40 to $55 per package.
The nicotine inhaler relieves nicotine withdrawal symptoms and is an aid in smoking cessation. It is important to remember that a combination of approaches has been the most successful for smoking cessation, and that the nicotine inhaler is most successful when used in combination with psychological and/or behavioral cessation strategies as well. The inhaler mimics the hand-to-mouth ritual of smoking and as well as the feeling of inhaling from a cigarette. It is not known at this time if the nicotine inhaler has the ability to satisfy a smoker's psychological need for the hand-to-mouth ritual of smoking.
The nicotine inhaler is supplied with 42 cartridges and a plastic storage case. Each cartridge can provide up to 300 to 400 puffs. However, once a cartridge is opened it is only good for one day. A gradual reduction in the dosage is recommended for a period of up to 12 weeks, and the inhaler should not be used more than six months total. Also be sure to read all included literature and brochures when using any nicotine inhalers.
The most common side effects include heartburn, irritation or soreness in the mouth or throat, oral burning, coughing after inhalation, and rhinitis. The inhaler should be used with caution if you have bronchospastic disease, coronary heart disease, cardiac arrhythmias or vasospastic disease. It should not be used during the immediate post-myocardial infarction period, or if you have serious arrhythmias, severe or worsening angina, hyperthyroidism, pheochromocytoma, insulin-dependent diabetes, an active peptic ulcer, or accelerated hypertension.
Be sure to keep opened and unopened cartridges out of the reach of pets and children because they can produce a fatal poisoning. Also, be sure to clean the mouthpiece regularly with soap and warm water. Do not use the nicotine inhaler while you are still smoking.
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Updated August 2018