The Scoop On Smoking from ACSH: what every teen should know about tobacco
nicotine inhaler (nicotrol inhaler)treatment type: drug
treatment duration: 12-24 weeks
dose: 4 mg cartridge, 6-16 cartridges/day at first
cost per day: $5.70
for comparison, calculate how much you currently spend on tobacco products per day
Information about Nicotine Replacement Therapy on this website is based on data on adults only. The safety and efficacy of NRT for teens has not been sufficiently evaluated in order for the FDA to approve it for use for those under 18. However, clinical practice guidelines by the U.S. Public Health Service advise that physicians can consider prescribing NRT to those under 18 'when there is evidence of nicotine dependence and a desire to quit tobacco use.'(6) Before receiving a prescription for NRT, a teenager must be carefully evaluated by a doctor in order to determine whether they may benefit from using NRT, and whether the potential benefits of using it outweigh the potential risks.
Regardless of your age, it is always wise to consult a health care provider before beginning a smoking cessation program.
The nicotine inhaler, or "puffer," is a device consisting of a mouthpiece and a thin, plastic cartridge that contains a 4 mg nicotine plug. The inhaler was introduced in 1998 and is available only by prescription. Although this product is labeled as an inhaler, it actually delivers nicotine through the mouth -- as the gum does -- rather than though the lungs as cigarettes do.
Users may need to use anywhere from 6 to 16 cartridges per day during the first 6 to 12 weeks and then can taper the number of cartridges over the subsequent 3 months. The manufacturer and public health officials recommend against using the inhaler for longer than 6 months.(6,28) The average cost of the inhaler is $5.70 per day, or $40.00 for a one-week supply, in addition to any doctor's or prescribing fee required.(29)
When the urge to smoke occurs, the user places the cartridge into the mouth and puffs in either shallow or deep breaths. This passes the vaporized nicotine into the back of the mouth and throat, where it is absorbed through the lining of the mouth. Users generally need to puff frequently for approximately 20 minutes (or one cartridge) to get the 4 mg dose of nicotine, of which 2 mg will be absorbed -- equivalent to the nicotine in two cigarettes. Users should note that cold temperatures (below 40 F) can decrease the amount of nicotine that is extracted from the inhaler. To compensate, in cold weather the device should be kept in a warm place. Also, food and beverages can affect the absorption of nicotine and should be avoided before, during, and after use to achieve maximum benefit.
Each cartridge delivers as many as 400 puffs of nicotine vapor, though it takes nearly 80 puffs to obtain the amount of nicotine that one gets from smoking one cigarette. Studies show that the nicotine inhaler, compared with a placebo inhaler (an inhaler containing an inactive substance instead of nicotine), more than doubles long-term quit rates.(6)
The American Council on Science and Health is a consumer eduction consortium with a board of 350 physicians, scientists, and policy advisors.