Nicotine Gum – 5 Side Effects To Be Cautious Of

Smoking has always been infamous as a perpetrator of cancer. However, a little- known fact is that some smoking cessation methods including chewing special gum, also come with significant health risks. We take a closer look at these risks in this article. 

The main culprit behind a smoker’s unrelenting urge to smoke is a substance called nicotine that is added to all types of cigarettes including e-cigarettes. While nicotine is not a carcinogen by itself, it is habit-forming and is responsible for keeping people hooked, increasing their cigarette consumption exponentially with time. When inhaled along with cigarette smoke, it produces an artificial sensation of relaxation and creates a temporary illusion of bliss. Over time, though, the body loses its sensitivity to nicotine and increases its demand to be able to produce the same degree of pleasure. Many products that claim to help smokers quit, use this addictive nature of nicotine to their advantage. Smoking cessation aids contain nicotine in small amounts that are intended to feed the craving without actually having to light up a cigarette. These methods successfully eliminate the inhalation of other harmful elements that cigarette smoke is made up of. 

Nicotine gum is quite popular among ex-smokers who often rely on it for getting rid of their cigarette-fixation. Unfortunately, though, researchers suggest that temporary solutions like these for too long can have negative consequences of their own, some of which are:

  • Increase in Stomach Issues – Nicotine gum triggers abdominal distress and nausea if it is chewed often and for a prolonged period. It may also cause flatulence and indigestion in some people.
  • Meat Generates Carcinogenic Compounds When Cooked- Heterocyclic Amines (HCA) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) are some carcinogenic compounds that are released when meat is grilled or fried at high temperatures.
  • Sleep Deprivation – Those who have been using nicotine gum for over six months complain of recurrent nightmares and disruptive sleep that leads to other severe health conditions.
  • Premature Hair Loss – Overexposure to nicotine in any form can damage hair follicles, causing hair loss. If consumed for long, nicotine gum can hamper blood circulation which also perpetuates premature balding.
  • Elevated Oral Cancer Risk – A recent study conducted by scientists at the University of London proves that long-term users of nicotine gum are more susceptible to mutations in their FOXM1 gene and, therefore, are more likely to develop oral cancer.
  • Gum Addiction – Even though nicotine gum holds a much lesser quantity of nicotine than cigarettes, it can still be addictive if taken for too long. When such a gum is chewed, the nicotine in it is absorbed by the tissues that coat the mouth and is passed on to the bloodstream. With time, the body starts getting accustomed to these small shots of nicotine and finds it difficult to give it up.

Making use of nicotine gum as a transitionary buffer after you give up smoking may help you by reducing the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and keeping you off cigarettes. However, it is vital to slowly let go of these smaller doses of nicotine as well before your body starts hankering for them and you end up with another addiction to deal with.

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