Inhalers tackle the habit of smoking, as well as the physical addiction to nicotine. When you puff on the mouthpiece, the cartridge releases nicotine to help relieve your craving. And, because it's designed to be held like a cigarette, your hands are kept busy too.
How to use an inhaler
Take a shallow puff about once every 2 seconds or take 4 deep puffs every minute. Continue this for up to 20 minutes. After this time all nicotine in the cartridge will have been used up.
Do not try to make one cartridge last all day. Although every smoker is different, the most successful quitters often use an average of six cartridges a day.
Use an inhaler between smoking episodes to prolong smoke-free intervals and with the intention of reducing your smoking as much as possible. If after 6 weeks you have not reduced the number of cigarettes smoked each day, then you should seek professional advice.
You should try to quit smoking as soon as you feel ready, but no later than 6 months after starting your treatment. If 9 months have passed since starting your inhaler and you have still not been able to make a serious attempt at quitting smoking, then seek professional advice. Unused Inhalation cartridges should not be thrown away because the urge to smoke can suddenly occur again. However, regular use of an inhaler after 12 months is not recommended.
You should use between 6-12 cartridges per day for the first 12 weeks. How many you need depends on how many cigarettes you used to smoke. Try not to use too many or too few cartridges, but use the Inhaler as needed to relieve your withdrawal symptoms and cravings to smoke.
Normally a patch or an inhaler alone would provide enough nicotine to help most people control their craving for cigarettes. However, some people may find that even though they are using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) they still have intense or frequent cravings they find difficult to cope with. If you are one of these people you may benefit from combining the use of patches with the use of an inhaler.
A patch provides long lasting coverage of your needs in nicotine whereas an inhaler, like lozenges or microtabs, can be used whenever a craving occurs.
For the best results try to use at least 4-5 cartridges every day. The combination of a patch and an inhaler should be used in this way for 6-12 weeks. After this time if required you can wean yourself off NRT by either:
- Using the 10mg/16 hour patch for 3-6 weeks and then use the 5mg/16 hour patch for 3-6 weeks while using the same number of inhaler cartridges in a day that you have routinely used. Then when a patch is no longer needed, gradually reduce the number of inhaler cartridges until you no longer need them.
- Stopping using the 15mg/16 hour patch and then gradually reducing the number of inhaler cartridges that are used until you no longer need them.
Do not use a nicotine inhaler if:
- You are pregnant or intend to become pregnant
There is medical evidence that nicotine in any form may be harmful to an unborn child. Therefore it is recommended that you do not use the inhaler if you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant, unless you are unable to stop smoking without nicotine replacement. Talk to your doctor before using the inhaler during pregnancy.
- You are breast-feeding or intend to breast-feed
Nicotine passes freely into breast milk, and can affect the health of the baby. Therefore it is recommended that you do not use a nicotine inhaler if you are breast-feeding or intend to breast-feed.
- You have had a recent heart attack or stroke
- You have heart disease such as palpitations (fast or irregular heartbeats) or uncontrolled angina (chest pain)
- You are under 18 years old
There is not enough information about the use of inhalers in children.
- You are allergic to nicotine or may be sensitive to menthol.
Before you start to use the Inhaler
If you have had any of the following, you should ask for your doctor or pharmacist's advice before using a nicotine inhaler.
These medical conditions may need consideration by or discussion with your doctor or pharmacist. You and your doctor or pharmacist can then weigh up the risk of using an inhaler against the benefits you will get if you stop smoking.
The medical conditions include:
- Chronic throat diseases
- Angina (chest pain) or any other problem with your heart or blood vessels such as pain in one or more legs when you walk
- High blood pressure
- Previous stroke
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Stomach ulcer or pain
- Hyperthyroidism (a disorder of the thyroid gland)
- Pheochromocytoma (a tumor of the adrenal gland)
Nicotine like all other medicines may cause unwanted side effects in some people.
Seek professional advice from your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are using Nicorette Inhaler.
Most of the undesirable effects reported by users of nicotine inhalers occur during the first weeks after beginning treatment. Some are minor and temporary but others may need medical attention.
The most common side effects are irritation in the throat and mouth, and cough. These will diminish during the first weeks. Seek professional advice if you are not sure.
You may notice the following:
- Stomach upset
- Nasal congestion
- Mouth ulcer.
These are not likely to be serious. Some effects, such as dizziness, headache and sleeplessness may be withdrawal symptoms due to low nicotine levels.
If any of these effects do not go away, or you have any other undesirable effects during use, tell your doctor or pharmacist.
If you use too much (overdose) or in accidental poisoning
Overdose of nicotine can occur if nicotine is used excessively, either from too many doses of Nicorette Inhaler and/or smoking.
Symptoms of overdose or poisoning include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Cold sweats
- Disturbed hearing
- Breathing difficulties
- Weak, rapid or irregular pulse
- Loss of consciousness.
Children have a greater risk of poisoning from nicotine inhalers and cartridges (whether used or not) if accidentally inhaled, swallowed, chewed or sucked. For this reason it is important to keep both used and unused cartridges out of reach of children.