What is Nicotine Nasal Spray?

Ken Black

A nicotine nasal spray is a type of stop-smoking aid that uses a spray system that is inserted in the nose to help satisfy nicotine cravings. While nasal sprays have been used to treat various other health ailments such as allergies, dry nasal passages, and congestion, using it to treat nicotine cravings is a relatively new practice. The nicotine nasal spray has some benefits for those trying to wean themselves off of cigarettes, but it also has some negative aspects.

Nicotine nasal spray can help individuals wean themselves off of cigarettes.
Nicotine nasal spray can help individuals wean themselves off of cigarettes.

Most of the nicotine nasal spray products on the market work in very similar ways. The product delivers a dose of nicotine consistent to what would normally be delivered in a typical cigarette. Often, those who decide to use the product may start doing so the same day they decide to quite using cigarettes. This offers the individual the chance to stop smoking, without experiencing any immediate withdrawal symptoms, which is often the reason many smokers fail to quit permanently.

A dose of nicotine nasal spray delivers an amount of nicotine comparable to that found in a cigarette.
A dose of nicotine nasal spray delivers an amount of nicotine comparable to that found in a cigarette.

The benefits of the nicotine nasal spray are numerous. First, the spray helps individuals stay away from cigarettes, while still getting their cravings satisfied. Second, the spray gets the nicotine into the bloodstream faster than other aids meant to help people quit smoking, such as the nicotine patch and nicotine gum. Therefore, many may actually prefer the nasal spray for its almost immediate benefit.

The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal can occur within a few hours of the smoker's last cigarette.
The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal can occur within a few hours of the smoker's last cigarette.

Further, the nicotine nasal spray is distributed by prescription only. While this may represent an inconvenience to some people, it could also mean a health insurance company is more likely to pay the bill as a prescription drug benefit. This could make the nasal spray more affordable than other products that can be purchased over the counter.

A chemical found in tobacco leaves, nicotine is a stimulant that is both addictive and a potential cause of disease if used over a long time.
A chemical found in tobacco leaves, nicotine is a stimulant that is both addictive and a potential cause of disease if used over a long time.

On the other hand, using a nicotine nasal spray to get the substance into the bloodstream quickly can be uncomfortable. The concentration of nicotine in the spray is often very high. Therefore, nasal discomfort, especially a burning sensation, may result. This sensation will diminish over time and repeated use, but it will take some getting used to the first several times the product is sprayed into the nose.

The discomfort is not the only drawback to the nicotine nasal spray. In some cases, the aid becomes a crutch, and the individual trying to use it to stop smoking and stop the nicotine cravings actually ends up becoming dependent on the spray itself. While this is generally considered healthier than having a dependence on cigarettes, it is still not the intended use of the product.

Nicotine nasal sprays are only available by prescription.
Nicotine nasal sprays are only available by prescription.

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Discussion Comments

ysmina

They have renewed the formula of nicotine nasal sprays. They're a lot milder than they used to be.

I had tried them years ago and had gone back to smoking. I'm trying them once again and I'm very happy with the new formula. It only took me a few days to get used to it and it doesn't sting at all.

burcidi

@anamur-- I've tried all three and I think the nasal spray is the most effective.

The patches didn't seem to work at all for me. I still experienced nicotine withdrawal. I think it's not very easy for skin to absorb it. The gum was better, it worked, but it required a lot. Sometimes I would go through 4-5 gums at once and it ended up costing too much.

Nicotine nasal spray is the most effective because like the article said, it enters the bloodstream quickly. The only downside I can think of is adjusting the dose when one is trying to wean off of the spray and quit nicotine altogether. Getting it by prescription was not a problem for me because I have medications I have to get prescribed regularly anyway.

serenesurface

I want to quit smoking and I'm going to need all the help I can get. I just don't know which product to go with-- nicotine nasal spray, nicotine patches or nicotine gum.

Which is most effective and easiest to use?

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