Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

One of the hardest parts of quitting is managing nicotine cravings and nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

NRTs are products that provide you with a low level of nicotine and so can help you to quit smoking for good.

There are several NRT products for you to choose from like the patch and several oral NRT products. Using two different forms of NRT (usually the patch and one of the oral products) can be particularly helpful.

Nicotine Patches

Nicotine patches 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 NRT patch delivers a steady dose of nicotine and helps with lessening withdrawal symptoms and nicotine cravings.

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Nicotine Gum & Lozenges

Nicotine gum and lozenges both release nicotine helping to fight nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms - so can stop you reaching for a cigarette. 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 similar to gum, put one in your mouth and allow it to dissolve, lozenges should not be crunched or chewed.

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Nicotine Inhalator

This is a small plastic tube, which houses a replaceable cartridge and a mouthpiece. You inhale on the end of the plastic tube and nicotine vapour is released into 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.

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Microtab

The nicotine microtab is a small tablet that dissolves under the tongue – chewing or swallowing them doesn’t work. The microtab tastes quite peppery but with continued use most people become used to the taste.

Don’t wait until a craving starts, the microtab should be used 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.

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Mouth Spray

The first time you use the mouth spray (or if you haven’t used it for a couple of days), prime the spray by pressing firmly on the pump until a fine mist appears, point the spray away from yourself/others when you do this.

Open your mouth wide, place the mouth spray as close to the mouth as possible, avoiding the lips. Aim the spray into the side of your cheek and press down on the pump firmly, if required you can repeat in the other cheek.

To avoid getting the hiccups try not to inhale when administering the spray and avoid swallowing for a few seconds after. Don’t wait until a craving starts, the mouth spray should be used 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.

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Who can use NRT?

Most people are able to use NRT, including:

  • Adults and children over 12 years of age – although young people under 18 shouldn't use the lozenges 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 NRT to check whether it's suitable for you. Sometimes it may be advisable 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.

Combining your choices

You don’t have to rely on just one method to quit. You are more likely to quit smoking by mixing and matching personal support like motivational support from a health advisor with NRT, a prescription medication or e-cigarettes. What would work best for you?

Support

There is lots of support to help you quit smoking from health advisers, they are ready with tips, information and encouragement.

Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT)

NRT are products that provide you with a low level of nicotine and so can help you fight nicotine cravings as you quit.

Digital Mobile Apps

Apps on your phone are a great way to help you quit smoking, they can help you with tips, advise and encouragement when you need them most.

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