Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

NRT provides the body with clean safe nicotine, without any of the harmful chemicals found in tobacco, which when used correctly prevents cravings and withdrawal symptoms when you become a non-smoker.  You should begin using NRT on the day you stop smoking. It is safe to be used by anyone over 12 years old, pregnant or breastfeeding women and those with underlying conditions such as cardiovascular disease.

There are a number of NRT products and you can choose which is the most practical for you. You may also be able to use two products, known as dual therapy, if you are having difficulty in stopping smoking. Speak to your stop smoking adviser or pharmacist to get the best advice. Don’t be afraid to use your NRT adequately, you should aim to keep your nicotine levels in the body high enough to prevent any withdrawal symptoms or cravings.

Courses of NRT are usually over a 12 week program, gradually reducing the amount of nicotine your body needs.  Please ensure you read the instructions of any product you use.

Patches

Discreet and easy to use the patches are designed to supply a slow steady dose of nicotine over 24 hours (for more dependent smokers) and 16 hours (for less dependent smokers). Your adviser will be able to advise you which you need. People smoking 20 or more cigarettes a day normally start with the highest dose but not necessarily a 24 hour patch.

Oral NRT

Oral NRT is recommended for less dependent smokers or to be used in dual therapy. Many of the products may taste unpleasant but become nicer over time. You are able to control the dose.

Remember these are medications to help you stop smoking and may be unpleasant to taste at first.  Do not eat or drink for 20 minutes after use as this will affect absorption.

Inhalator

If you like the hand to mouth action that smoking entails you may like this product. Nicotine cartridges are used in a plastic mouthpiece which is drawn on like a cigarette.

Lozenge

These should be sucked slowly and rested between the gum and cheek where the nicotine is absorbed. Available in different flavours and strengths.

Mini lozenge

These are discreet and available in different strengths. Available in different flavours and strengths.

Gum

Should not be used like normal gum however, if you chew too frequently you will end up swallowing the nicotine which may lead to stomach upset. Chew the gum then park it in the side of your mouth where absorption can take place. This process should be repeated as required.

Varenicline/Champix

Does not contain nicotine and has been specifically developed to help people quit smoking, the tablets reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Available only on prescription or through the pharmacist. The course can be started one to two weeks before your Quit Date.

Zyban

Non-nicotine tablets that can be taken up to a week before a Quit Date. Zyban can help relieve the withdrawal symptoms that you may experience when you stop smoking. .

As with all medications the above may become less effective when used repeatedly and you should remain in contact with your stop smoking adviser when on treatments to minimise any side effects.

You are four times more likely to quit and stay stopped with NRT/other medication and behavioural support. Call free on 0800 025 3000 to speak to the Stop Smoking Service in your area.

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