Questions to Ask Yourself First
Ask yourself these questions prior to your quit, in the interest of it being a successful attempt:
- Why am I Quitting? – Stopping anything that you are addicted to is a good thing, however, you should ask yourself why it is that you are quitting. If you were a smoker or vaper before using nicotine pouches, quitting may put you at risk of relapse to these other more harmful methods. Having a good reason to quit that you can remind yourself of can serve as a useful motivation boost for when things get tough. Some examples include – ‘I no longer want to be dependent on nicotine pouches’ or ‘I want to protect my gums and oral health’.
- NRT? Tapering Down? Or Cold Turkey? – Although nicotine pouches are a great way to go smoke or vapour-free, they are not considered nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products. NRT products include nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, sprays, and inhalators, all of which may help you quit nicotine pouches. NRT may be useful to stop using nicotine pouches, but of course still contain nicotine, and thus, keep you addicted to it. If you are looking to go completely nicotine free, tapering down by reducing your nicotine mg/pouch dose, reducing how many pouches you use, or by going cold turkey (abruptly stopping) are your best options.
How Can I Quit Nicotine Pouches?
Quitting nicotine pouches can be incredibly difficult. Persistent cravings, withdrawal symptoms, avoiding triggers, and leaving your nicotine ritual behind, are all aspects of quitting nicotine that make it appealing to want to stay. Luckily, we at Nic Pouch UK have put together this guide to help make your quit journey as smooth as possible.
- Set a Quit Date – Just like quitting smoking or vaping, setting a non-negotiable date to put down your pouches or switch to NRT is highly advised. Once you have chosen your approach to quit, whether it be NRT, a gradual taper down in nicotine pouch use/strength, or going cold turkey, plan and choose a date that suits you, ideally for a period that will be relatively stress-free, lacks opportunity for you to buy or use nicotine pouches, and when you will be less likely to encounter triggers. A short vacation or time visiting family can be good opportunities to quit, but of course this is ultimately up to you!
- Master Your Quit Approach – As mentioned in the ‘Questions to Ask Yourself First’ section of this guide, there are multiple approaches that you can take to quitting. This short subsection outlines how to execute each of these approaches properly.
NRT - If you are going to use NRT, consider using a form that is dissimilar to a nicotine pouch. Using nicotine gum or lozenges may seem appealing coming from nicotine pouches, however, they are usually much weaker and may tempt you back to pouches. Nicotine patches are a good option, as they eliminate the hand to mouth action that may be habitual to you as a nicotine pouch user. The concept of a nicotine patch is simple, you stick one on and go about your day with a steady release of nicotine, which should help to eliminate cravings for nicotine pouches. NRT is not all easy though, you may experience some side effects which can include nausea, insomnia, headaches, dizziness, and stomach issues.
Tapering Down – Tapering down refers to a gradual decrease in nicotine pouch use and/or strength, over time. This is a useful way to let your body adapt to lower levels of nicotine, making it easier to stop completely. How soon you start to taper down before your quit date is up to you, but earlier is easier, as this allows you to make smaller reductions in nicotine levels over a longer period, therefore avoiding some of the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that can result from large drops in blood nicotine concentration. Starting further in advance of your quit date is more important if you use pouches of high strength and/or lots of them, for example, a user of 20mg/pouch products could start a month in advance of their quit date, dropping from 20 to 0mg/pouch in 5mg decrements each week. Zero nicotine pouches are a useful tool for those seeking to take the ‘taper down’ approach to quitting. Shop Zero Nicotine Pouches Here.
Cold Turkey – Going cold turkey can be the hardest, but quickest route to quitting nicotine pouches. There is minimal preparation involved in going cold turkey, you simply stop using nicotine pouches on your quit date, with no nicotine replacement or need to taper off. Despite being a very fast way to stop using nicotine pouches, going cold turkey can result in the harshest withdrawal symptoms, as you will have no time to get used to near-zero levels of nicotine, or be assisted by another form of nicotine delivery. It should be noted that this approach requires great willpower and resilience, but if successful, can be very effective, rewarding, and freeing.
3. Hang in There! – Once you have hit your quit date and began your quit journey, all that there is left to do is stay on track. How smooth sailing one’s quitting experience is, is highly individual. Whilst one person may be able to quit nicotine pouches cold turkey, without much discomfort, another person may feel extreme withdrawal symptoms and relapse. The good news is that quitting nicotine pouches gets easier over time. If you are going to quit without NRT, nicotine withdrawal symptoms peak after 1-3 days and then gradually decline over 3-4 weeks, when most of the nicotine has left the body. During this time, you may experience strong cravings, in this situation it is important to remain positive and remember your reasons for quitting in the first place. Nicotine cravings only last 15 to 20 minutes at a time, and whilst this may feel like forever, they will always subside. Keep yourself busy and happy during this process, do things that bring you joy and stop you from thinking about nicotine pouches. Remember that you decided to stop in the first place!
The Take-Home Message
Although we are advocates for the use of nicotine pouches in existing nicotine users to quit other, more harmful nicotine-containing products, we believe that being able to quit using nicotine pouches or nicotine in any form is a great achievement!
‘If you’re still trying, you have not failed’.