As primary healthcare workers, nurses are responsible for taking care of patients as well as being role models for healthy behaviors. However, our previous article on why nurses smoke revealed that many nurses choose to smoke despite knowing its negative effects because it helps them feel relieved and relaxed from work. Janelle Ringer supported this case by explaining how nurses’ smoking behaviors are linked to the routines and culture of the workplace, with access to work breaks as the strongest factor in why nurses smoke. The study elaborated that smoking became the only perceived sanctioned reason for taking a break, which is why nonsmokers were perceived to receive fewer breaks than nurses who do.
Apart from having a healthier lifestyle, employers must encourage nurses to stop smoking to promote better patient care. Ringer claimed that employers must establish cessation programs since having healthcare workers who smoke will undermine the success of smoke-free policies in healthcare settings. As role models in the healthcare industry, patients look up to nurses and doctors when receiving medical support. Therefore, they must also be the frontliners in preventing and reducing tobacco-induced diseases.
To help nurses like you on your journey to quitting smoking, here are three discreet and tobacco-free alternative products that you can use while on duty:
Nicotine lozenges are oral tablets that contain a small amount of nicotine. They are consumed by placing a lozenge between the gumline and cheek and then sucking it slowly until it dissolves. With this, the nicotine slowly enters the bloodstream as it’s absorbed through the lining of the mouth. Since nicotine lozenges are consumed like candies, it’s easy to fulfill your nicotine needs in-between breaks or even during shifts without the need to step out or light a cigarette. You also don’t need to chew lozenges, which will not distract others at work while you take them.
Nicotine pouches are another smokeless and tobacco-free alternative that you can consume orally. Unlike lozenges, the contents of nicotine patches are securely sealed in small white bags. To use them, they should be tucked underneath the top lip and pressed against the teeth and gums. It will then slowly release the nicotine into the mouth, which you will feel through a subtle tingling sensation in your gums. What makes the top nicotine pouches out today different from other nicotine alternatives is that you don’t need to chew or suck on the pouch to enjoy its flavor. They are available in various strengths and flavors, such as mint, citrus, and coffee. Lastly, they are also unnoticeable even when you talk with your colleagues or patients, making them suitable to use while working.
Lastly, nicotine patches are small, self-adhesive patches that slowly release nicotine into the bloodstream through the skin. Similar to the previously mentioned alternatives, the uptake of nicotine patches is slower than that of cigarettes since it’s purposely designed to allow your body to adjust to lower levels of nicotine. Since they can be placed on your waist or chest, you can easily hide these patches from view with your uniform. They are also long-lasting, which means you don’t need to worry about replacing them while in the middle of your shift.
If you are a nurse who smokes and is looking for either an alternative while at work or a way to quit we hope the above tips prove useful.