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I have been smoking now since I was 17 years old and I'm now 38. I have tried to quit smoking many times in the past, mostly by going cold turkey and then returning to the dreaded weed when I was at the stage of pulling my hair out and I have tried a quit smoking thing/group way back with Superdrug where I received loads of help, guidance and patches but I just couldn't do it.
I think of myself as an ardent smoker. I smoke anywhere up to 40 cigs a day, mostly roll ups. However I do think of it as a disgusting habit and I get sick of myself smoking. Its an inconvenience, I stink and it costs me an absolute fortune, particular if I'm going out somewhere nice and think then I'd better buy myself 40 odd fags instead of looking like a navi rolling up in a nice dress!
So when I spotted these Niquitin gums for only £1.49 for a box that contained 12 pieces of it in my local B & M store I decided to try them out. I am waiting to go to a quit smoking group run by the NHS from my doctors but with moving I just haven't had the time at all but I still want to quit badly for all of the above reasons I listed so that's why I bought them and then when I read the information given on the back of the box I was pleased to read that not only can you quit by just using these if you want to but you can use them to simply cut down on what you normally smoke should you want to, which suited me as I was worried that I couldn't manage to quit on my own completely at this stage.
The gums come in a blue and white oblong shaped box and on the front of it we are clearly told what the product is and who it is by and that of course that there are 12 pieces supplied in my box then on the back of the box other information listed includes being told a bit about the product, how to use them, warnings are clearly stated and contact details for the manufacturer are given. Inside the box 12 pieces of gum (in my case) come in a silver foil and clear plastic tray to which on the foil side, again we are clearly told what they are and there is an extra leaflet supplied in the box with a bit more info on though I find the information supplied on the box is good enough for me.
Hard to the touch and a very light yellow colour all you do with these is chew them as you would any other gum. You are meant to chew up a gum when you have the urge to smoke and to chew it till the flavour is released and to then to pop it and rest it in your cheek and if the flavour disappears to chew it again until the flavour comes back and to do this until the flavour really doesn't come back. You can chew a maximum of 15 of these gums a day and we are advised to stop when your only feeling the need to chew one or two of them a day. If you want to have one of these in place of a cigarette that's fine and safe to do as well.
They have a weird warm taste these do, sort of a light minty flavour at first then the nicotine takes over in a small dose and it really isn't very nice at all and it gives me slight indigestion and a numb tongue. However I have persevered with these and found that as long as I really want to quit/cut down they do work well enough for me. I did try to quit completely with the aid of these but my cravings never went so away so I will try a higher mg of these next time but as an aid to just smoking less they do work for me I am pleased to report! Instead of about 30-40 cigs a day I'm down to about 15 and about 4 of these a day, for me that's good and I am richer and feel better for it!
All in all I do recommend that if you really, really want to quit these are worth a go if you think the gum method will work for you!
This is my third attempt at stopping smoking. Having two failed attempts in the past by going 'cold turkey' I decided to try my local 'stop smoking clinic' to see if they had any advice to encourage me with my third and hopefully final quit attempt. The staff at the clinic have been very helpful and it was them who suggested I try Niquitin gum Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). Having never tried anything like this before and perhaps hoping for a miricle cure to stop my cravings I was keen to give it a whirl.
Niquitin gum is available in two different strengths. 4mg for people who smoke 20 or more cigerettes a day and 2mg for less heavier smokers. With attending the smoking clinic I recieved a free prescription for this gum but in Boots it retails at £13.99 for 96 pieces. This may sound expensive but compared to the price of cigerettes it is an absolute bargain. I also noticed that it is available in a fruit flavour as well as mint but liking the sound of a fresher taste, I decided to opt for the mint.
After tasting this gum for the first time I initially thought it was not for me. It has a very unique taste to say the least, slightly minty but very 'medical'. But not wanting to fall at the first fence and determined to stop smoking I perservered with it for the next few days and gradually I became more tolerant of it's bitter taste and in a funny way became more used to it. Whether my like for this gum developed because it was providing my body with nicotine I cannot really say but I would recommend to anyone to keep going with it as it's taste does become better with time!
The gum is packaged within blister pack sheets rather like you'd expect to find tablets. I suppose this is because it is treated as 'medication' rather than gum. There are also instructions which tell you the usual precautions, possible side effects and the technique which the gum should be chewed.
The gum is designed to be chewed until the taste becomes strong and then placed at the side of the mouth where nicotine can be absorbed into the body. It took me a long time to get used to this chewing technique and found that if continuously chewed like regular gum, it becomes very strong and almost 'burns' the back of the throat. Needless to say after nearly choking myself one or two times I soon got the hang of the slow chewing then resting technique.
A ten a day smoker is recommended to chew between 5-8 peices of gum a day for the first few weeks and gradually reduce this until in time you have eliminated the need for nicotine entirely.
Two weeks on from my last cigerette I do believe the gum has helped stem my cravings. There have been times when I could have caved in but after a few minutes with the gum these cravings have passed and I've ploughed on without my once beloved fag.
The only negatives I've found with this is with prolonged use I seem to be developing hiccups at least once on a daily basis. This is written within the side effects but seems to have affected me a lot. I don't know if this would be true to anyone else or if it is just a side affect which has become personal to me but it has become an annoyance after a fortnight!
Another thing I've noticed is slight jaw ache from the chewing so much every day. I don't suppose it's normal to be chewing 5 -6 pieces of gum every day and my jaw certainly isn't used to it. In addition to this, Niquitin gum isn't the softest gum in the world to be chewing for such a duration and its toughness doesn't help my poor aching jaw.
On the upside, chewing gum has certainly stopped me from dipping in the fridge for something to eat every half an hour, something I did continuously on my previous quit attempts.
I suppose these are only minor niggles considering the positive benefits of using this gum. It has certainly supported me in my quit attempt and has definately stopped me cracking in them difficult moments.
Niquitin also make patches and lozengers as an alternative. These I have never tried but I would imagine would make a more suitable alternative to gum for those people who were dentures or have a dislike of chewing gum.
All in all I would recommend Niquitin gum to anyone who is considering stopping smoking. It is not 'perfect' but certainly helps those cravings and a lot better alternative than trying to go it alone. As I begin week 3 of my quit attempt i'm determined to keep going and with Niquitin to keep me going I hope I can finally say goodbye to cigerettes for good.
Update: It's now March 2012 and I'm still not smoking. These definitely helped.
It's that time of year again, new year's resolutions...dirty looks from the other half....freezing everything off standing banished in the snowy garden having a late night fag...I'm on my second attempt to give up and this time round I'm using this gum to help me.
NiQuitin gum comes in two strengths, 4mg for heavy smokers, or 2mg for lighter smokers (under 20 fags a day, I think, or those who can wake 30 minutes after waking before that first smoke). I'm using the 2mg strength. It is allegedly mint flavour, but honestly, not like any other mint gum you've ever tasted. I'm buying it in packs of 12, which cost me £1.95.
Inside the pack is a blister pack with small pieces of gum, and instruction leaflet, and a credit card sized card with details of Click2Quit, where you can get a free tailored stop smoking plan, which is a helpful addition and a nice little touch.
The product is designed to help you give up smoking by giving you a nicotine 'fix' while you work on giving up the habit of smoking, then gradually weaning you off the nicotine.
How to use
They suggest a schedule of 3 steps to gradually wean yourself off nicotine, starting with 8-12 pieces a day for 3 months, then reducing, then only using in emergencies. I have to say I'm not using according to their plan exactly, I don't use that many pieces each day so maybe I'm not as nicotine addicted as many smokers. I even only use half a piece of gum sometimes.
The idea is to chew the gum slowly then 'park' it in a corner of your mouth, between your gum and your cheek for example. somewhere that the nicotine can be absorbed by the lining of your mouth.
Take care: the instructions say you should not use the gum for more than 9 months, if you are under 12 years old, or if you are allergic to nicotine. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should see your doctor first.
What do I think?
Generally I do think this is helping me a bit, as I said, I wasn't a heavy smoker and I don't think I had a really bad nicotine addiction, my smoking was more habit/stress-relief. So I didn't have too many giving up smoking symptoms to relieve (like bad temper), but I do appreciate having something to fill the gap when my mind was shouting 'I WANT A FAG!'.
It's an odd sensation, it doesn't taste of mint, as far as I'm concerned, but you do get that 'cold' sensation that you get from other gum where it is touching the inside of your mouth. It's not an unpleasant taste once you've got used to it after the first one or two chews. I'm now quite adept at tucking it away between my gum and cheek in various favourite spots. I move it around every couple of minutes as I find the sensation on my gum/cheek starts to get a bit too intense otherwise.
I have to be careful not to forget and treat it like ordinary gum: give it a good chew, produce a lot of saliva and swallow it, and ouch, my throat is burning! Accidentally swallowing too much nicotiney saliva makes me cough too. I shouldn't be surprised by that, it's what cigarettes do to you as well...
You don't get that 'buzz' that you get from a cigarette but I do feel some slight effect of the nicotine physically.
Yes, I would recommend giving this a try. Different things work for different smokers at different times. I also tried some nicotine lozenges (review coming) that didn't suit me at all, and I don't think I can make do with just willpower. A heavy smoker might need something a bit more than this gum, though, so explore various options. There's nothing to stop you using the gum plus something else to help. Whatever works for you has got to be worth it!
good luck and congratulations to anyone who is giving up smoking now, or thinking about doing it. Join me in becoming healthier, less stinky and considerably heavier in the wallet department!
Whether youre a heavy or light smoker, NiQuitin Gum is part of a programme designed to support your wish to stop smoking / Using gum at regular intervals gives your body the nicotine you need to help you stop smoking / Stopping smoking straight away is best for your health / However if you are not able to, you can use NiQuitin Mint Gum to help cut down your smoking, perhaps before stopping, or to help you stop smoking for short periods of time / Do Not Use: If you are allergic to any of the ingredients listed on the side panel; If you are a non-smoker, an occasional smoker or under 12 years old; if you are in hospital because of heart problems unless your doctor tells you to.