One of the oldest stop smoking aids around is nicotine gum.
Now this isn't the kind of gum you used to chew when you were a kid.
In fact, this can be described as gum in name only, because it's really not meant to be chewed like the old kid favorite, "Big League Chew".
So what is nicotine gum? Well, as I said, it is one of the most popular and oldest over the counter quit smoking aids on the market.
It comes without a prescription in two strengths - 2 and 4 mg's.
The higher doses are meant for those who would be characterized as heavy smokers.
Nicotine gum falls in the category of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
The idea of NRT is to help the prospective quitter handle the withdrawal cravings associated with smoking cessation.
Because nicotine is addictive, many find a nicotine supplement beneficial.
The withdrawal cravings include restlessness, agitation, and basically just not feeling comfortable in your own skin.
The cravings peak after 2-3 days and are often what eventually undermines the smoker's attempt to quit successfully.
The idea of the nicotine gum is thought to be two-fold.
Not only does it provide a nicotine replacement delivery system, but it also keeps the mouth busy.
Remember, smoking is not only addictive but it is a conditioned behavior.
The oral satisfaction associated with smoking can be mimicked by various quit methods and nicotine gum is one of them which could potentially address this behavior.
But be careful, because nicotine gum is not meant to be constantly chewed, like recreational gums.
Instead, this type of gum is meant to be chewed only until a tingling sensation is noticed.
Then it is supposed to be, what they call, "parked" between the gum and cheek until the sensation is no longer felt.
Once this occurs, the user repeats the chewing and parking to maintain the tingling feeling.
Side-effects generally occur when people constantly chew the gum without parking it.
Constant chewing creates increased salivation and swallowing.
This reduces the oral nicotine uptake and increases the likelihood of gastric or GI upset.
It also reduces the benefits of the product, since the nicotine then passes out of the body without being absorbed.
Nicotine lozenges work in the same way as the nicotine gum.
Since it does not need to be chewed, it may be easier for people to use.
Much like the gum, the nicotine is absorbed in the mouth and should not be swallowed.
Both can be used in combination with other stop smoking aids, but only under the direction of a doctor.
All the nicotine replacement therapies, including the gum and lozenges can double your chances of success over quitting cold turkey.
If you seek the advice of a physician and map out your quit smoking plan, then you also increase your chances of quitting successfully.
So although, the gum and lozenge doesn't require a prescription, you may still benefit from a quick trip to the doctor before you start.