How Did Nicotine Gum and Patches Start?

Still the most popular smoking cessation tools. Gums and patches are now big industries.  Their cessation success varies from person to person as common anecdotal evidence would suggest.  

While there are different brands of nicotine gum, the most famous is Nicorette. The history of Nicorette chewing gum dates back to the company formation in the ‘60s. the product was initially refused by the Swedish Medicinal Product Agency because of the prominent attitude of the time which is that smoking was, in fact, good for you!  In the United States, it was initially sold in 2mg doses available by prescription in the early '80s. Nicorette was not made available as an over-the-counter product in the ‘90s.

Is Nicotine Gum Effective?

Nicotine gum, such as Nicorette, is an effective smoking cessation method. However, this does not come without any concerns. Using nicotine gum for prolonged periods of time can lead to metabolic issues and insulin resistance.

Many believe that a chewing gum containing nicotine cannot be addictive. However, that is not entirely true. Nicotine is still being administered to the body. People used to chew tobacco all the time, to the point where it crossed over to being an addiction. Nicotine chewing gum addictions are well-documented, so they do exist and it is a potential issue if you go this route for cessation.

How Did Nicotine Patches Start?

Nicotine patches were first studied in 1984. This was the same year that Nicorette gum, the first nicotine replacement product, hit stores. A year later, a patent was filed. Other competitors filed a patent in 1988 and received approval two years later. The original patent held priority and, after much debate, discovery was credited to New Mexico Tech/Etscorn.

Are Nicotine Patches Effective?

The main player in the nicotine patches market is NicoDerm CQ. A different product, Nicotinell TTS, was used in a study and was found to work as an effective weaning measure during smoking cessation. However, it has also been proven as being no more effective than Chantix.

The efficacy of nicotine patches was said to be approximately double in cases of sustained cessation and NicoDerm CQ has been proven effective as a nicotine replacement therapy method. The same holds true for other brands of nicotine patches. However, the extent of how well nicotine patches work for complete smoking cessation is still not clear. A recent study has found that they are assumed to be equally as effective as e-cigarettes for cessation purposes.

One concern of nicotine patches has to do with the potential toxicity issues they create. Tobacco-specific nitrosamines, which are agents known for causing cancer, are found in nicotine patches. Of course, these are found in nicotine chewing gum and other nicotine replacement therapy products as well.

Are Either Good to Use?

Smoking cessation usually requires some type of ‘catalyst’ or product to work effectively. Otherwise, the results are rarely sustained. At the same time, nicotine replacement therapy still provides the body with a nicotine fix until the cessation product is dropped. This means that anyone using this type of product to quit smoking will need to quit the product also.

If you are thinking about quitting, then using a nicotine replacement therapy product is no bad thing. However, it should be undertaken with an understanding that these products are a temporary solution. AprilAge is proud to assist Health Practitioners in varied Smoking Cessation projects.