Nicotine Replacement Therapy [NRT] in teens & young adults

Nicotine is as addictive as heroin, a number of studies have shown. Quitting nicotine-containing tobacco products thus is quite a challenge for most individuals, regardless of age.

Weaning off nicotine is one strategy that can be successful, especially when coupled with counseling support.

We now know that nicotine is harmful to the developing brain -- that is, from the fetal stage and infancy through age 25 years.

Experts agree that the sooner a young person under the age of 25 who smokes tobacco or vapes can be rid of a nicotine habit, the better. Using nicotine replacement therapy in the form of skin patches, lozenges, or gum is acceptable for the weaning process over a period of weeks or a few months. Vaping, where the nicotine content of the vape "juice" is accurately known, can also be an effective method for nicotine weaning over a period of weeks or a few months. Neither NRT or vaping in a person less than age 25 who has an established nicotine habit is a good idea for more than six months. Counseling support around the time of and immediately after quitting all nicotine is very important AND it is very available through the free Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

For pregnant women under the age of 25, the use of NRT or vaping to satisfy an established nicotine habit is generally up to the physician providing the woman's prenatal care. Optimally, all nicotine use should be stopped in advance of becoming pregnant, and any woman should remain nicotine-free throughout her pregnancy and then stay nicotine-free permanently after her baby is delivered. Again, counseling support for quitting and staying quit is very important in women under age 25 who are or might become pregnant.

Thinking of quitting nicotine? Not sure if you are ready or not? The Tobacco Quitline counselors can help! Remember, it is a free call -- no doctor's visit required. And, see also the companion TFYCC website blog on "Free apps to help you quit smoking".

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