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What Are People Really Using NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapies) For?

Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs: patch, gum, lozenge, nasal spray and inhaler) are intended to be used to help smokers to quit smoking completely. But an international report was recently published, finding that of the 17% of smokers who had used NRT in the previous year, approximately a third had used it for reasons other than quitting smoking.

The study was based on a survey of 6532 smokers in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States, and found similar patterns in each country. The patch was by far the most commonly used NRT (70%), followed by the gum. Overall, about 8% of NRT users had used NRT just to reduce their smoking, and around 8% had used it to help them cope in situations where they couldn’t smoke. The report stated that,

“NRT products have a low addiction potential and the health risks of sustained use are low. As a result, the prevalence of non-standard NRT use is not necessarily a cause for concern.”

The study was published in 2008, but the survey was carried out in 2005. Since then even more public places have gone “smoke-free” in order to protect the public from having to inhale toxins from environmental tobacco smoke pollution. It makes me wonder if more people have started chewing nicotine gum or lozenges to help keep their mood stable and enable them to concentrate in their work without being distracted by nicotine cravings. I’d be interested to hear from any readers who have used NRT for reasons that were (at least initially) not simply to help them quit smoking.

Reference:
Hammond D, Reid JL, Driezen P, Cummings KM, Borland R, Fong GT, McNeill A.
Smokers’ use of nicotine replacement therapy for reasons other than stopping smoking: findings from the ITC Four Country Survey. Addiction. 2008 Oct;103(10):1696-703. Erratum in: Addiction. 2008 Dec;103(12):2075.

This post, What Are People Really Using NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapies) For?, was originally published on Healthine.com by Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D..


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