How NRTs Can Help Cut Down Smoking Rates for Women
Nicotine Replacement Treatment
Smoking is harmful regardless of an individual’s age, sex, or smoking history, but the data shows that it disproportionately affects women and their health status. Smokefree.gov’s report on smoking’s impact on women’s health notes that female smokers are more likely to develop severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at younger ages than their male counterparts. Not only do more women die from COPD than men each year, but female smokers over the age of 35 are also at a higher risk of developing heart disease than male smokers.
While a previous post listing ‘Foods to Fuel a Healthy Heart’ shows that dietary choices like whole grains and leafy greens can reduce the risk of heart disease and improve overall health, the healthiest choice female smokers can make to combat smoking’s adverse effects is to quit for good. Fortunately, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a viable approach to cessation — here’s a look at how it works.
What is nicotine replacement therapy?
MedlinePlus’s guide to NRT explains that this pharmacotherapy treatment is designed to help smokers quit by using products that supply low and fixed doses of nicotine directly into the bloodstream. Many types of NRT are available through prescription or over-the-counter, such as skin patches, nasal sprays, inhalers, and oral products like gums and lozenges. Regardless of the nicotine delivery format, NRT can help smokers relieve cravings and withdrawal symptoms, such as sleep disturbances, coughing, and mood changes. The following section will explain how exactly NRT particularly can boost cessation rates among women.
How does NRT support women’s smoking cessation?
Enables a discreet, customizable experience
By using NRTs, female smokers can tailor their nicotine experience to suit their specific needs and experiences, thereby increasing the chances of kicking the habit. Among oral NRTs, nicotine pouches are a viable option due to the wide variety of flavors and strengths that they offer. This allows women to easily cater the pouches to their cessation needs. On! nicotine pouches that feature on Prilla have traditional flavors, such as mint and citrus, as well as more unique flavors, such as cinnamon and wintergreen, that help create a refreshing and satisfying nicotine experience without the side effects of traditional tobacco products. Aside from their discreet packaging that can be carried in pockets or handbags, these pouches are invisible under the lip and do not emit any odor or drip — making them suitable for relieving cravings at home, work, or public places. Other discreet NRT products have varying strengths, such as nicotine gums that come in 2mg and 4mg and can thus be adjusted depending on a woman’s smoking history and frequency.
Prescription medications like the cessation aid Chantix (varenicline) and the antidepressant Zyban (bupropion) are another pharmaceutical approach for smokers trying to quit. However, most types of NRT are more accessible because they are available over the counter. For example, leading brands Nicorette and NicoDerm CQ account for 30.7% and 5.7% of total NRT sales, respectively, as they are distributed online and offline through drug stores, convenience stores, and grocery stores. The accessibility of these FDA-approved NRT products is not only observed in their numerous retail channels but also in terms of overall cost. Using NRT in the short- and medium term can save more money than being a long-term smoker unable to quit.
Reduces health risks
Lastly, NRT is beneficial for cessation because the products do not contain the same ingredients or chemicals that make cigarettes and other tobacco products dangerous to one’s health. As such, NRT is an effective alternative for female smokers whose gums and teeth are at risk for discoloration, decay, and disease due to tobacco and tar. Moreover, oral nicotine products like gums and pouches do not emit any smoke or residue, thus reducing the risk of developing chronic conditions like cancer, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
In essence, NRT supports smoking cessation by addressing common barriers smokers face, such as withdrawals, expenses, and health risks. Although combination therapy already improves success rates, smokers are further advised to complement NRT with behavioral approaches such as therapy, consultation, and quit coaching for a more comprehensive cessation journey.