First post!

Hello everyone, i found this site because im worried a little about my NRT use.

I quit smoking just over a year ago using Nicorette quick mist spray. I smoked for 20years so was delighted at how the NRT worked for me, as i have tried everything else and failed. It was when i applied for a life insurance policy and was told 'if you use NRT, then you're still classed as a smoker' that i began to question myself. Thing is im totally dependent on my spray and can't go anywhere without it. My usage has increased and i can't cut down and it's quite expensive. Am i worrying over nothing? what you think?

22 Replies

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  • Hi Redsky and welcome to our forum. A couple of things strike me, first of all well done becoming a non smoker after 20 years that is a brilliant achievement. I wasn't aware that insurance companies classed people on NRT as smokers, that does seem to show a lack of understanding and personally I would be inclined to challenge that. It is generally understood that using long term NRT is safer than smoking , however, long term use in research has not looked beyond 5 years.

    Given that you are increasing your use of the spray it is probably wise to try and reduce that and eventually stop altogether. Have a think about how you want to do that. We could help you on here but would need to go into more detail on your use, alternatively you could see if your local stop smoking service would see you and help.

    It would be worth you keeping a diary for a week noting when you use the spray, what you were doing at the time, so what triggered you desire for nicotine. Once we see that we can see if we can identify any 'cues' which cause you to use the spray.

    How do you use the spray? Do you spray it into your mouth or onto the inside of your cheek?

    I'm certain you will be able to wean yourself off it.

    Eye

  • Whoops-a-daisy, looks like we posted at the same time! Great to see we were saying the same thing! :D

  • Hi RedSky, welcome to our online stop smoking community :0)

    Congratulations on being a 12 month quitters! You've done really well :-)

    I didn't realise that insurers still classed people as smokers if they were still using NRT...

    It sounds as though you have led yourself into believing that you really can't go without your spray and have maybe caused yourself to become psychologically addicted to it.

    Don't worry though, there is a way and it's most definitely forward. You are in a much safer position by continuing to use it than if you were to carry on smoking :0)

    The best plan would be to maybe choose a date, (I would suggest over the next couple of weeks) and work towards stopping its use. Before we get this far though, it would be useful if you could start (tomorrow) keeping a rough diary if how often and even you are using it...

    So, starting tomorrow, make a note of the time you get up, the time of your first use of your spray and what you were going beforehand.

    This will give is us an idea of what causes you to use your spray and whether it not you are feeding yourself nicotine because you need it, or just out of habit.

    You're in a better place now than if you smoked do don't worry.

    Keep up the good efforts and we'll chat again soon :-)

  • Ha ha RedSky I hope this reassures you that we are giving good advice, we are separated by the River Mersey at the weekend but Emjay and I singing from the same song sheet :)

  • Hi Redsky, I am also addicted to nicotine. From my own experience, I don't agree that its a psychological thing. Nicotine is an addictive substance and until you eliminate the intake of nicotine from your body, the cravings will always be there no matter what form you take it in, it eventually ends up in your brain feeding the receptors and the only way to get rid of that addiction is to stop the nicotine intake, completely. Much easier said that done for some of us. I've been stopped smoking for 9 months now but had become addicted to nicotine lozenges. I've managed to get rid of them for a week. Its been really hard and I am now puffing away on an e-cig with quite high nicotine content. For the last couple of days I had to do without either (because I was at work) and for me, to go 3 1/2 hours without any kind of nicotine intake at all was hell. I became increasingly agitated, and ended up getting really annoyed with two work colleagues on two separate days because I was so distracted from not being able to have any nicotine and they came 5 minutes late to relieve me of my duties (I work on reception so can't go until someone else covers me). On Thursday night I completely lost it with an alarm clock that I was trying to set just because it was a bit complicated and I couldn't set it (I left my phone at work and usually use that as an alarm clock, there again I forgot my phone because I just wanted to get out the door so I could have my e-cig) and ended up screwing up the instructions and launching the clock across the room with the whole sorry tale ending in tears.

    I'm coming to the conclusion that NRT is a big money making con on behalf of the drug companies. They know they're just replacing one form of nicotine intake with another and that if people are left long enough and left to their own devices they will become hooked on the NRT just as much as they were hooked on smoking. The service provided by the NHS for people who want to stop smoking is a disgrace. They pay lipservice to helping people stop.They have little understanding of just how highly addictive nicotine is and I don't honestly think they know that much about some individuals propensity to addiction, which due to their own genetic makeup is much stronger in some people than others. I don't know what the answer is Redsky, I honestly don't. I, myself am becoming ever more stressed out and frustrated with the whole thing, to the extent that sooner or later I will probably end up going back to smoking, because at least I'll be bloody happy. Not that I'm suggesting that's what you do, I'm just saying you're not on your own. Maybe the people who have become addicted to NRT should all club together and sue the drug companies and make it so you can only get NRT on prescription and make the GP's do a bit of work.

  • Interestingly during my first 3 weeks of quitting I read a book called the Run away Jury which is all about a big case in America against the tobacco companies, and they won, the skulduggery in it was riveting and made you wonder if they would do that kind of stuff, I actually think they might. I've decided that after my next prescription I am not going back to the advisor, this website is so so much better, I will go back to my GP if I want more cos she just isn't cutting the mustard. Sorry you are still feeling a bit grim Sin hope you manage to find a way out and through this.

  • I can imagine the skulduggery that will have gone on and that it's probably very true to life over there, look at how upset they got with Gary McKinnon when he highlighted their security wasn't too good. His mum has brought a book out, I might read it - Saving Gary McKinnon: A Mother's Story. I might read the book you have mentioned too, to keep my resolve never to smoke again. :) I'm sure you'll do just as well without your adviser from the sounds of it.

    I've not had any lozenges at all since 25 October but using the e-cig a lot more now and seem to have developed a bit of an addiction to Dolly Mixtures - love 'em. Good luck, keep going, I keep thinking of ringing the adviser I had, just to tell her I did stay stopped smoking despite her telling me that maybe now isn't the time and I'm not committed enough Grrr.

  • Oh I might look for that book sounds interesting. Weird isn't it, I've suddenly developed a passion for Horlicks and the odd bit of whole nut chocolate which would never have been eaten before, I've put a four pounds on whcih in my case is good, I'm nearly 5ft 8 and was 8 and a half stone, I was smoking instead of eating, didn't realise at the time but I do now. :(

  • My husband started on wholenut chocolate when he stopped smoking 10 years ago, he still eats it now :D He only eats a bit at a time. I can't do that. I just keep eating it til its gone but I prefer sweets to chocolate. Managed to do 10 miles on my bike yesterday as it was a lovely day wasn't it and I actually walked 3 miles this afternoon, I don't really do walking as it takes too long to get anywhere :) but the clouds looked threatening and I didn't fancy getting wet on my bike.

  • Hi all, thankyou for the replies. Firstly im going to start a diary of when i use my spray and what caused me to use it at that moment, as i think that may highlight some kind of issue going on in my day to day life. The spray has been incredible it really has, like the way it allowed me to put the cigs away and effortlessly without any problems switch from one sourse of nicotine to another. I spray onto my tongue twice and hold it in my mouth for as long as possible, this is best done when driving or walking. It kind of feels like i get a high from it, as you can tell im well addicted to using it. I try to only spray the once but automatically my fingers press the button twice, and i think to myself why you keep doing that lol I love it, i really do. I can honestly say i enjoy the spray far more than i ever did the cigs. I can't stand the thought of going back to cigs and if they ever stopped making my spray god knows what id do then. Anyway that's a little bit more into how my mind is working with the nicotine and will start my diary right away.

  • PS I will keep posting as im doing a diary, the thing that's striking me at the moment though is, i can't imagine not using my spray in the future.

  • Hi all, Firstly regarding my life insurance quote, i have had to take this out as a smoker, even though i stopped over a year ago. I reduced the length of policy to ten years from thirty to keep the cost down. My broker will call me back in twelve months to see if i've managed to quit NRT. Secondly my diary has not thrown up anything unusual, just that i tend to use my nicotine spray every hour, and wake up about 4am and use it. Im going to make sure i only spray the once rather than twice, silly how i find this so hard to do.

  • Hi Redsky, well that's insurance companies for you, heaven forbid they take any risks. Don't really understand why someone on NRT is classed as a smoker, unless its because nicotine still causes health problems no matter what form its in. Either that or they think if you still need NRT then there's a possibility that you'll go back to smoking. Its only a very low percentage success rate with NRT that people actually stay stopped.

    On a good note though if you come to buy a pension annuity as a recent ex smoker or a smoker you get a good deal cos they don't expect to be paying the pension out for very long. The healthier you are the more of a rubbish pension deal you get when buying your annuity.

  • Hello Sinfree, The Broker said the reason is, as you put it, 'that there is a strong possibility that i could return to smoking as im still addicted to nicotine' I was quite annoyed with this to begin with, as it somewhat dampened my good feeling of being a non smoker. I do get where their coming from a little so took out the policy in the end up. It's just another way for them to not pay out when the claim goes in, so better to be truthful with everything just in case.

  • Hi Redsky and welcome, I know you will find lots of support on here, I have hesitated posting since Thursday because I felt really negative about my experience with my smoking advisor and didn't want to bring people down but as the subject has been broached I'm going for it:

    Ever since first visiting her I have not been impressed with her, she just simply doesn't hit the mark with me. I first gave up on my own and went to her after three weeks because I felt I needed more support, coincidentally also finding this site in that week (Thank god!). Most of the meeting was discussing me withdrawing from NRT and how it appears people are becoming addicted to the lozenges, she was recommending that I use a new strip that you lay across your gums that gives instant relief. I really didn't want to I said to her that using the inhalator and the lozenges worked for me and didn't want to change what was working, neither did I feel ready yet to start thinking about giving this up. She told me that I am entitled to 6 more weeks of prescriptions but that they should be focused on reducing the NRT and that if she was prescribing full strength she would come under scrutiny from her managers, and also doctors might object because of their prescribing budgets. I felt really really pressured and not individual at all. I had thought that I would get to 3 moths quit and then start thinking about reducing NRT. It really threw me, when I came out I honestly felt like going to buy a packet of cigarettes, I felt really low and that I'm being treated like a sheep and not like me. Oh the other things she said was that research has shown that after 12 weeks a habit should be changed and in contradiction NIACE have recommended that people use NRT for up to 10 months, there was also a veiled allusion to oral products possibly causing mouth cancer although she quickly qualified that by saying of course anything can give you cancer. I ASK YOU how supportive was all of that. Since then I have shifted between anger, hopelessness, then thinking I will start again then they have to go back to go back to sqare one. I have also though about trying to withdraw, which I was anyway in my own way, I am ahead of my prescription although I didn't tell her that because I felt like I was being pushed around. I don't do well when pushed, I feel my heels going in and my mothers legendary stuborness comes out in me.. What to do? I have a GP appointment on Monday and will discuss some of this. Oh I did try and do what she suggested, I used a patch and inhalator on Friday and Saturday and as usual the patch just floated off my skin, I have a very oily skin and nothing sticks. :( Emjay, Eye could I have your advice please??) Red sky I didn't congratulate you! I understand yours and Sin's frustration but whatever happens I firmly believe you are doing better than smoking, my hat off to both of you. XX

  • Aup Friez :)

    Its a shame that your quit smoking adviser is like that :( all I can say about her is :P :P If you would like my advise, I would say, stick with the inhalator and the lozenge's cos it sounds like they are working for you :)

    Ok, you are getting nicotine, BUT, you are not getting all those horrid chemicals that cigs have in them :) I think there is about 4.000 chemicals in a ciggie !! There is a post somewhere about them, I will try and find it for you, and put it up :)

    Once you know yourself that you have got rid of the cigs once and for all, then, you can start cutting down on the NRT eh :)

    Am not sure whether I have helped or not :o

    Speak soon, Pete :)

  • Hi Friez. We established a few weeks ago that you're from the same area as me and that we have probably used the same stop smoking service, but possibly not the same adviser. It sounds to me like they're being incentivised to push this new product. The health service is ever more leaning towards privatisation. Everything they do now is dictated by budgets and targets. Half the time they are meaningless targets plucked out of the air by some idiot sat at a desk all day dreaming up new ways to save money. GP's are paid to tick boxes. That is why every time you go to the dentist you're asked if you smoke, every time you go to the doctors they take your blood pressure because they get paid for it and as Tesco says - every little helps.

    The chances of getting any decent help from the Health Service to stop smoking is probably getting less and less. Lets face it this country can't even supply a good enough service to look after the mentally ill so there's not much hope of getting a bit of proper counselling to go with your NRT. If you really want to carry on with lozenges but you can't get them on prescription any more then at least for the time being Home Bargains sell them in 4mg and 2mg for £2.99 for 36 lozenges, which isn't bad and as you know I love them. It's good to hear that they've actually realised people do get addicted to NRT, but then its pretty obvious that's going to happen when people can just go out and buy them off the supermarket shelf. The Health Service knows damn well that if they truly wanted to help people to stop smoking and stay stopped its going to take a lot more financial and man hours commitment than the current sad little gesture of Stoptober and the run of advertising after Christmas for the half hearted new years resolutionists. With the ever increasing demands being placed on an already overstretched and crumbling health service they know they can't do it, so they've effectively resorted to bullying tactics hoping smokers will fall into submission if enough public pressure it put on them.

    I'm sorry you felt you couldn't come on this site and have a moan about it, really, isn't that what its here for? Hope you're feeling a little better now. :)

  • Here here Sinfree :) :)

  • Afternoon All, I didn't want to just read and run but I've just read all the above and I'm typing from my phone at the moment with a house full of little people. Hang on in there and as soon as I can give you some quality time (rather than a rushed response from my phone) I'll be back as soon as, probably on a couple of hours.

    The best way for you to stop smoking is by using the way that works best for you. The best product to work for you is the product that you feel you have the most faith in... And then to ensure that you use it correctly.

    There is a lot to be said about psychological and physical addiction, both being pretty damn powerful and affects us in many different ways but also in many similar ways.

    Let me try and empty this house out and I'll be back as soon as I can :-)

    You are all right in how you are feeling and we will help you get through this. It is much better that you let us know how it really is rather than think its bit okay to talk about it as we can address this with you and help you through it... 'Tis what we are here for :0)

  • Hi Friez, there is a lot there in your post and it's good that you have raised it so we can help you through.

    The traditional way to help folk quit with NRT is to have a patch and one other oral product, however, you are managing to quit with two oral products and it seems to be working for you. Please don't give up and go back to smoking. I think it is useful to discuss your product use with your GP as ultimately he / she can prescribe that for you if it is what is best for you.

    Some advisors are quite tightly bound to what they can give you NRT wise because of the parameters set by the NHS locally.

    We don't really know (longer than 5 years) the impact of long term NRT but that isn't something you need to worry about at this stage.

    NICE has issued guidance which suggests for people who can't or don't want to give up smoking might take a harm reduction approach and use NRT long term , however, most NHS organisations do not fund that which would mean the individual purchasing their own NRT, again, that's not really relavent to you at this stage.

    Have a chat with your GP, don't despair, your Dr will probably be really impressed that you are taking so much time and thought on your quit and will want to help you. See where you go with that and get back on here so we can help.

    The most positive thing about your situation is that you are taking control and thinking about how you are most likely to be successful and that can only be a good thing.

    Eye

  • Thanks everyone, I will take on what you say, its good to know you can get them so reasonably at home bargains, my local chemist charges £12.00 for 60 Eeek. Thanks feel better already. I will wait to see what you say. Emjay, Eye didn't expect a response from you till tomorrow, have your rest time! I'm not going to do anything daft, promise, just down heartened by the smoking service.

  • No problem Friezfriend, we at Roy Castle Lung Cancer foundation are passionate about helping folk stop smoking so we are happy to help when you need it even if it is the weekend.

    Remember...every problem has a solution ;)

    Eye

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