Quitting Smoking Using Nicotine Products? Here’s What You Should Know About Them

It’s no secret that cigarettes are a highly controversial product that can cause many adverse effects. As previously stated in Danish’s article on rejuvenating the body, cigarette smoking is recognized as one of the worst habits that a person can undertake. Because cigarette smoking exposes you and those around you to over 7,000 toxic chemicals, this has been known to cause a variety of issues ranging from restlessness to premature aging to chronic diseases. As of 2024, the World Health Organization (WHO) even considers the smoking of tobacco cigarettes as the leading cause of preventable illness and death globally.

In response to this, many have turned to nicotine products to help them wean off cigarettes. So much so, in fact, that this market’s value is expected to grow by almost 8% by 2030. Typically smoke- and tobacco-free, these alternatives can help quell pesky cravings and stave off withdrawal symptoms, so a cigarette relapse is less likely. But while these nicotine products are becoming more popular of late, it’s important for interested smokers to understand a few less-known facts about them. 

They can cause side effects

Before anything else, it’s important to clarify that the nicotine products we’re referring to are those regulated by the FDA. These include forms like nicotine gums, pouches, lozenges, and the like. As such, they are generally considered safe so long as they are used correctly. Of course, just like most things, they can cause certain side effects. 

Most of these are directly related to nicotine, which is the primary ingredient. These include things like heart palpitations, headaches, diarrhea, and insomnia. That said, depending on the form of nicotine product, you may experience more specific ones. Case in point, some of the most common side effects of ZYN, which is a leading nicotine pouch brand, are mouth soreness and upset stomach. The former is typically caused by a user’s unfamiliarity with keeping the pouches in a specific position between their gums and lips. Meanwhile, the latter is brought on by a flavor or strength that may be too strong. In both cases, these are usually temporary and only require an adjustment period to overcome. The same can be said for the side effects of other nicotine products, although it’s still important for users to monitor their condition. 

They may require specific prescriptions

Although some of these nicotine products can be used recreationally and bought online or over-the-counter, some do require prescriptions. Such is the case for nicotine inhalers. This is because these products can carry more nicotine and implement a means of administration that requires more precision. Conversely, you’ll notice that most of the other readily available nicotine products already come in pre-set strengths. On the flip side, nicotine inhalers come in a kit with nicotine cartridges that you must refill yourself. 

On top of this, the necessary prescription will also note specifically how a smoker is meant to dose themselves. Again, this is unlike other cigarette alternatives, where smokers decide what nicotine strengths work best for them. To illustrate, the dosage schemes for Nicotrol, which is the only brand of regulated nicotine inhalers, require set timetables for every dose. This means you can only use your inhaler within set windows in a day, as dictated by a doctor. 

They can be covered by insurance

Finally, smokers may be happy to know that some nicotine products can be covered by their insurance. This is under the assumption that they’re to be used for cigarette smoking cessation. Although many nicotine products are rather affordable, especially if you buy them on platforms that offer discounts or bundles, it still helps to have this cost shouldered. This way, you can continue your cessation journey without financial worry. 

Having said that, federal law and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) do require most health insurance plans to include smoking cessation. The only thing is that the scope of this coverage varies greatly. For instance, as per a report from the American Lung Association, plans like Medicare and traditional Medicaid must include counseling and FDA-regulated cessation solutions. State marketplace and employee-sponsored insurance plans, meanwhile, can also cover up to two cessation attempts per year. However, grandfathered health plans and short-term limited-duration plans may opt to offer cessation coverage or not. So, if you’re looking to try nicotine products as cigarette alternatives, you may want to check your insurance to see whether they can cover you and to what extent. 

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