Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, and quitting is the best way to reduce your risk of lung cancer and respiratory illnesses. Fortunately, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can help smokers safely transition out of their smoking habits. NRT involves using products that contain nicotine at lower levels than cigarettes. Over time, this is supposed to wean the body off nicotine (and as, consequently, cigarettes) completely. This article will compare two of the most popular forms of NRT, nicotine pouches and patches.
Content and mechanism
If you’re trying to quit smoking, nicotine pouches and patches are two common ways to help curb your cravings. Both products contain nicotine but work differently. For starters, nicotine patches are also called transdermal nicotine delivery systems. They’re small adhesive patches that provide a steady stream of nicotine, absorbed through your skin over some time. Most patches on the market, like the Nicoderm CQ patch, can be worn for 24 hours and require daily replacement. Patches are made in different strengths for varying levels of nicotine dependence.
On the other hand, nicotine pouches are made from a material similar to that used in sutures. They also look like small pouches, or “pods,” with a tab at one end. Inside each bag is a small amount of nicotine. You place one bag inside your mouth and let it absorb through the mucous membranes. Alternatively, you can tuck them inside the cheek or under the lip until the nicotine is absorbed. This process takes about 10 minutes per pouch and lasts about 20 minutes before the full effect wears off. Much like patches, bags also come in different strengths.
The main difference between the two is that nicotine patches come in different flavors while nicotine pouches do not. As the On! nicotine pouches on Prilla show, they come in various interesting flavors such as coffee, mint, and wintergreen. Because people who smoke cigarettes tend to enjoy their flavored tobacco products (such as menthol), this may be a deciding factor for some smokers who might find it more appealing to use a flavored product over an unflavored one.
Nicotine patches, meanwhile, are known for their suitable adhesives. Because patches are worn longer than pouches, they contain larger amounts of nicotine—sometimes up to 22 mg. Additionally, most brands are waterproof, allowing users to wear them even as they shower or exercise.
Advantages and disadvantages
Because both patches and pouches do not contain tobacco, they can be stored longer with their relatively stable shelf life. Both products are also small enough to be used discreetly. In terms of nicotine withdrawal, both can help prevent symptoms like irritability and trouble sleeping. Nicotine patches and pouches are also relatively accessible and can be found in most online stores and pharmacies, making them a cost-effective and low-effort method to quit smoking.
However, these products don’t cater to all factors affecting smoking cessation. For example, while they provide nicotine, they don’t offer any other sensations that make smoking enjoyable—like the feeling of being able to light up or breathe in a certain way. This is why combining these products with smoking cessation counseling is crucial to overcome smoking addiction’s behavioral and psychological aspects.
Which one is better?
As with any other form of NRT, these products’ success depends on their users’ commitment and consistency. Some people may find one preferable based on personal preferences or needs. In general, both options are effective in helping people quit smoking. A study published by the Cochrane Library found that using two or more kinds of NRT can increase a person’s chances of successfully quitting tobacco versus just using one form of nicotine alternative.