Nicotine is the thing that makes cigarettes both pleasurable to smoke and addictive. It is a chemical that occurs naturally in the tobacco plant. When you inhale the smoke from a cigarette a large amount is drawn into your lungs and transferred to your blood – travelling to your brain within seconds. In the brain nicotine causes the release of chemicals that give you feelings of pleasure and relax you for a short period of time. It is the rapid delivery of nicotine to the brain that gives you a buzz or rush.
As you continue to smoke over a long period of time the brain changes and starts to expect nicotine. When you smoke, you inhale nicotine from cigarettes, and over time your brain actually grows new receptors that thrive on nicotine. When you quit smoking, your receptors no longer get the nicotine they need, and cry out for more – that's why you get cravings and withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability and restlessness, which can overwhelm your willpower.
A popular myth about smoking is that the nicotine in cigarettes is what causes cancer and other health risks. The truth is that aside from nicotine cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 other chemicals, including around 50 that increase your risk of cancer.
This is one reason why nicotine can be used in Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). In this type of treatment you replace the nicotine from cigarettes with Therapeutic Nicotine that's delivered in a different way, such as through NiQuitin patches, lozenges or gum.
It's a less harmful way to take nicotine because you are not inhaling all the other harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke at the same time. Therapeutic Nicotine helps reduce the temptation to smoke, making it easier for you to cut down or stop smoking cigarettes. Over time you gradually reduce the amount of NRT you are using until you are no longer smoking or using NRT.
The therapeutic nicotine in NRT helps you to manage cravings while you quit, without being exposed to the many harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke.
There are lots of different strategies to quitting. This site has plenty of advice to help you find a way to quit that best suits you. If you'd like to use NiQuitin products to help you on your quit journey, head to the products section for details on what NiQuitin options may be available to you.