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How can nicotine inhalers help me quit smoking?

Frank T. Leone, MD
Pulmonary Disease
The nicotine inhaler helps with the sudden onset of cravings when you quit smoking. Each cartridge delivers 4 mg of nicotine, or approximately 80 “puffs.” The advantages are that the dosage is flexible, as it is based on your cravings, and it can therefore be used regularly. Proper technique is important. You should not inhale. Rather, puff on the inhaler until you feel a burning sensation in the back of your throat. The only side effect is that you may cough if you inhale too deeply.
A nicotine inhaler helps with the sudden onset of cravings. Each cartridge delivers 4 mg of nicotine, which is equal to approximately 80 puffs. It can be used regularly in response to cravings, and the dose is flexible and dependent on the intensity of the cravings. If inhaled too deeply, it may lead to coughing. In order to avoid side effects, proper technique is important. You should not inhale. Rather, puff on the inhaler until you feel a burning sensation in the back of your throat.
Inhalers are available only by prescription. The nicotine inhaler is a thin plastic tube with a nicotine cartridge inside. When you take a puff from the inhaler, the cartridge puts out a nicotine vapor. Unlike other inhalers, which deliver most of the medicine to the lungs, the nicotine inhaler delivers most of the nicotine vapor to the mouth. Nicotine inhalers are the FDA-approved nicotine replacement method that is most like smoking a cigarette, which some smokers find helpful. The recommended dose is between 6 and 16 cartridges a day, for up to 6 months.
The most common side effects, especially when first using the inhaler, include:
  • Coughing
  • Throat irritation
  • Upset stomach
At this time, inhalers are the most expensive forms of NRT available. They are not the same as electronic cigarettes, which have not been proven in clinical trials to help with quitting and are not approved by the FDA.
 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.