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How should I use an inhaler as nicotine replacement therapy?

Smoking cigarettes is one of the biggest risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The sooner you quit, the sooner the health of your heart and blood vessels can begin to improve. There is a range of medications that may be able to help you quit smoking as part of a larger smoking cessation plan. One prescription form is a nicotine inhaler, a type of nicotine-replacement medication that provides nicotine to help you crave cigarettes less while you are quitting. 
What It Does
A nicotine-containing cartridge is attached to a mouthpiece. When inhaled, nicotine vapor is released and absorbed through the mucosa of the mouth and throat. The vapor does not reach the lungs; instead the inhaler acts similarly to gum or lozenges.
How to Take It
Use the nicotine inhaler as needed in response to the urge to smoke. Use 6 to 16 cartridges per day for the first 6 to 12 weeks. Then gradually decrease the dose over the next 6 to 12 weeks.
How Long to Use It
Continue up to 12 or 24 weeks, decreasing the dose gradually after 6 to 12 weeks.
Precautions/Contraindications
The nicotine inhaler can cause irritation of the mouth and throat during the early stages of use, which sometimes persists. Inhaled nicotine may cause bronchospasm, so it is not recommended for people with a history of severe airway reactivity.
A nicotine inhaler is a prescription medication. The nicotine inhaler satisfies the desire for nicotine in your mouth. The inhaler looks like a cigarette holder into which you put a nicotine cartridge. You can puff on the inhaler up to 16 times a day. You may get better results by combining the inhaler with the patch. You should stop smoking completely as you begin using the inhaler. If you cannot stop smoking by the fourth week of using the inhaler, you should stop using the inhaler.

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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.