Smoking and How to Quit Smoking

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

View How Smoking Affects Your Looks and Life Slideshow Pictures

Quick GuideQuit-Smoking Pictures Slideshow: 13 Tips to End Your Addiction

Quit-Smoking Pictures Slideshow: 13 Tips to End Your Addiction

How can nicotine-containing products be used safely?

Users of nicotine-containing products should understand that all of these products have side effects as well as effects on other underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and heart disease. Furthermore, these products can have interactions with other prescribed medications such as pain relievers, blood thinners, and high blood pressure medications. And finally, they do have their limitations. The following guidelines are to help you safely use these products to achieve your goal of quitting smoking.

  1. Always read the labels and know the ingredients in the products. Never take more than the recommended dose without checking with your doctor first.
  2. If you are pregnant or nursing a baby, seek the advice of a health professional before using any nicotine-containing product.
  3. Do not use a nicotine-containing product if you continue to smoke, chew tobacco, use snuff, or other nicotine-containing products.
  4. Consult a physician before using nicotine-containing products if you are under 18 years of age and:
  • Have heart disease, an irregular heartbeat, or have had a recent heart attack (Nicotine can increase your heart rate.)
  • Have high blood pressure that is not controlled with medication (Nicotine can increase your blood pressure.)
  • Have a history of, or currently have, inflammation of the esophagus (esophagitis) or ulcers of the stomach or duodenum (peptic ulcer disease)
  • Take insulin for diabetes.
  • Take any prescription medications (Nicotine interacts with some medications, such as aspirin, some medications for the heart, and female hormones to decrease their levels in the blood.)
  • Have a skin disorder, such as dermatitis, which may increase the likelihood of skin reactions by the skin to the patch
  1. People should stop using nicotine-containing products and see their physician if they have or develop:
  • Mouth, tooth, or jaw problems (applies to Nicorette gum)
  • Irregular heartbeats or palpitations
  • Symptoms of nicotine overdose, such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, and rapid heartbeat
  • Severe rash, redness, swelling, burning, or itching at the site of the patch
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/30/2015
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