Monday, March 07, 2011

Can you chew nicotine gum forever?

David Kesmodel and Kevin Helliker, WSJ, Mar 1, 2011, say the instructions on nicotine gum say to stop using it at the end of 12 weeks.

But many people just keep on with it. One smoking cessation scientist has been chewing it for 15 years.

The FDA, in fact, is thinking of taking off the 12-week warning and approving the gum for extended periods, perhaps forever.

There doesn’t appear to be any great harm from long term use, according to one cancer prevention specialist.

It’s not the nicotine that causes cancer, but the nicotine may raise the risk of cardiovascular problems.

Continually taking in nicotine can “hijack the brain’s reward system,” according to this article.

Studies, many done by the manufacturers, show that nicotine gum or patches or lozenges, show that those who use the products are twice as likely to quit after 12 weeks than those who don’t.

The vast majority of those who quit, though, do it cold turkey.

One study showed no differences in quit rates between gum chewers and cold turkey quitters after a year, meaning many people began smoking again.

Maybe continuing with the gum would have done the trick.

Ask your doctor—don’t take my word for it. I somehow never smoked.

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