Nicotine replacement products

How can nicotine replacement products help you quit?

One of the hardest parts of quitting is managing nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine or cigarette replacement products provide you with a low level of nicotine and can help you to quit smoking for good. They are a useful stop smoking quit aid and are available at your local pharmacy.

Nicotine therapy or nicotine replacement products are a clean source of nicotine. That means that they give you the relief you need, without the thousands of life-threatening chemicals and tar that are in tobacco. These products are sometimes called ‘NRT’ products, short for nicotine replacement therapy.

There are several products for you to choose from. Using two different types of NRT (usually the patch and one of the oral products) is often advised. A tobacco dependence adviser can help you find the best combination of products for you. Speak to our helpline or get professional advice from available stop smoking services in your area.

You could use a patch to start with and if you find this isn’t enough, then try a higher nicotine dose or add in another nicotine replacement oral product, like:

  • Nicotine gum,
  • Nicotine lozenges
  • A nicotine spray or
  • Nicotine inhalator.

Make sure that you use enough of your nicotine replacement therapy and for long enough, at least 12 weeks.

Find out about stop smoking prescription medications from your doctor.

Nicotine vaping

While it is never recommended that non-smokers start vaping, nicotine vaping, combined with behavioural support has proven to be an effective tool to help adult smokers quit. Find out more about using vaping as a way to stop smoking. Vaping is the most popular stop smoking aid in use in England and research shows that it poses significantly less risk than tobacco for adult smokers – our experts bust some vaping myths.

How to use a nicotine patch

Watch and listen to Respiratory Pharmacist Darush Attar describe how to use nicotine patches.

Nicotine patches are a must.

These are applied directly on your skin. If you are a regular smoker, they can help you to quit for good as they release nicotine over either 16 hours (all day) or 24 hours (day and night), depending on the type of patch you choose. The patch delivers a steady dose of nicotine and helps with withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

The right way to use nicotine gum & lozenges

Nicotine gum and lozenges both release nicotine helping to fight cravings and withdrawal symptoms – so can stop you reaching for a cigarette. They can be used in conjunction with a patch to give you a boost when you need it.

The gum is chewed once or twice until it starts to tingle in your mouth and then you park it in the side of your mouth for a minute or so, when the taste fades you chew again and park on the other side. Lozenges are like gum – put one in your mouth and allow it to dissolve (lozenges should not be crunched or chewed).

Are you using nicotine gum correctly?

Watch and listen to Respiratory Pharmacist Darush Attar on how to use nicotine gum – it’s not like chewing gum.

How to use a Nicotine Inhalator

This is a small plastic tube, with a replaceable cartridge and a mouthpiece. Hold the end of the plastic tube to your lips and inhale nicotine vapour through your mouth.

If you need the ‘hand-to-mouth’ action of smoking, inhalators are a great option. You replace the disposable cartridge in an inhalator after around 80 puffs.

Like the lozenges and gum, use the inhalator when those ‘trigger moments’ happen. The boost of nicotine over and above your patch will stop you reaching for tobacco.


Want to stop cravings and keep your hands busy?

Watch and listen to Respiratory Pharmacist Darush Attar demonstrates how to use a nicotine inhalator.

Mouth Spray

Don’t wait until a craving starts, use the mouth spray regularly throughout the day to keep cravings at bay. Use for at least 8-12 weeks to give yourself the best chance of quitting for good.

Who can use NRT?

  • Adults and children over 12 years of age who smoke – although young people under 18 shouldn’t use these products  without getting medical advice first
  • Pregnant women – your doctor may suggest NRT if they think it would help you quit
  • Breastfeeding women – your doctor can advise you how to do this safely

Always read the packet or leaflet before using nicotine replacement therapy products to check whether it’s suitable for you. Sometimes it’s best to get medical advice first, for example if you have kidney or liver problems, or if you’ve recently had a heart attack or stroke.


How to use a nicotine mouth spray

Like a patch, the mouth spray can be used throughout the day to prevent cravings

Combine your choices

Local stop smoking help

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Support for You

Mobile stop smoking apps

A stop smoking app on your phone is a great way to help encourage you to quit smoking – with tips and advice at your fingertips.

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