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Nicotine Replacement Therapies: The Risks of Habituation

 

The mainstream public has been led to believe that the main culprit behind tobacco use is the addictive nature of nicotine. Despite evidence to the contrary, such as studies that confirm that smoking is not an addiction but rather a psychosocial habit, many smokers cling to the idea that kicking smoking simply means kicking nicotine addiction. Thus, many smokers readily enlist the services of nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs). However, there is a major problem with this approach to quitting smoking: NRTs can create the same psychological dependency as cigarettes.

Nicotine replacement therapy is used by many people who want to quit smoking for good. The method is pretty simple: smoking cessation is achieved by administering doses of nicotine by way of either nicotine patches or nicotine gum. The idea is that as long as the smoker gets a little bit of nicotine, he or she will have satisfied the craving for cigarettes. Unfortunately, NRT very often becomes a bad habit of its own.

According to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, NRTs are not effective in the long-term battle against tobacco use. In other words: those who smoke before they start chewing nicotine gum will likely keep smoking later on in life.

Tel Aviv University’s study that demonstrated the fact that smoking is a psychosocial habit and not a physical addiction shows that the reason for both cigarette and NRT dependency is a belief system that creates an unhealthy reliance on the former and the latter. Smokers continue to smoke because they learn to associate positive emotions and phenomena with the act of smoking a cigarette. NRT users continue to chew gum or use patches because they become dependent on the psychological satisfaction they get from believing that they are controlling their smoking habit.  In the end, both dependencies are rooted not in the physical body but in the needs of the psyche.

So why do many quit smoking professionals continue to advocate NRTs? The unfortunate truth is because there is money to be made in the manufacturing of such products. Helping people conquer the smoking habit via quit smoking hypnosis or other mind over matter methods is not very lucrative for the pharmaceutical industry; hence, the mainstream has a tendency to promote NRTs.

The most surefire way to quit smoking for good is not to depend on NRTs but instead to create new beliefs and thought processes that diminish the need for the tobacco habit. Quitting smoking is really about getting to the psychological root of the problem and then fixing it.

Customer Testimonials

Hi Maureen. Just a quick note to say thank you. I have not had even a puff of cigarette since our session on 10 May 14. Any desire or thought flits straight out again. This is certainly a much less painful way to stop smoking. I recommend you to anyone who is interested, even had someone ask about weight loss. Hope all is well for you.  Regards
Gail Wilshire

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