The first few weeks without smoking can be the hardest. This is when your body is fighting the physical nicotine addiction. This passes in a few weeks, but Stop Smoking Medicines will help you get through the early stages and make it easier for you to stay quit long-term.
In this section you can find information on the following medicines/products to help you quit:
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) works by giving you a fixed dose of nicotine, which you gradually reduce over time. This reduces your cravings for a cigarette.
Nicotine Patches are a one a day solution. They work by delivering a steady dose of nicotine through the day. Choose between 16 hour and 24 hour Patches, to suit your requirements. Your Stop Smoking Advisor will help you decide which is best for you. Discreet and easy to use. Patches take about 30 minutes to get going so if you need a quicker hit you may need to look at other products. Use with a faster acting product for maximum effectiveness.
Looking a little like a cigarette an Inhalator releases nicotine vapour which is absorbed through the mouth and throat. Use up to 6 nicotine cartridges per day for it to be effective. Use it at least once an hour. Can be useful if you miss having something to do with your hands.
Gum, Microtabs, Lozenges & Oral Film are taken by mouth and help you when you need them throughout the day. Use them regularly throughout the day not just when you get a craving. Gum is good for day-long treatment. Use about 10-15 pieces per day. For maximum effect chew the gum slowly then rest it between your gum and cheek. Available in different strengths and flavours. Bitter taste to start with, but you get used to it. Microtabs dissolve when you place them under your tongue. Use up to 2 per hour as required. Discreet and easy to use. Lozenges dissolve slowly in the mouth. Use up to 15 per day. Discreet and easy to use. Oral Film dissolves very quickly in the mouth. Use up to 15 per day. Discreet and easy to use.
The Mouth Spray is absorbed very quickly through the lining of the mouth. Spray into the side of the mouth for best effect. Use 1-2 sprays every 30 mins to 1 hour. May cause irritation to start with. The Nasal Spray delivers a quick dose of nicotine through the lining of the nose. Spray into each nostril once or twice an hour. May cause irritation to start with.
Champix® (Varenicline) and Zyban® (Bupropion) both work to reduce cravings. They come in tablet form and you start taking them one to two weeks before you quit. Treatment usually lasts 8-12 weeks.
Not available if you are pregnant or under 18. Zyban® may cause sleeping difficulties, dry mouth and headaches. Champix® may cause nausea. Neither are suitable for use in pregnancy
E-Cigs/Vapourisers deliver nicotine through a vapour rather than smoke. They heat and vapourise a solution that typically contains nicotine, propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine, and flavourings. E-Cigs do not burn tobacco and do not produce tar or carbon monoxide. They are ‘vaped’ rather than smoked and although the vapour has been found to contain some toxicants also found in cigarette smoke, these are at much lower levels.
E-Cigs/Vapourisers are not completely risk free— however based on the current evidence they carry a fraction of the risk of smoking. If using an E-Cig helps you stay smokefree, it is much safer for you than continuing to smoke. Note: E-Cigs are still fairly new and we don’t yet have evidence if there are any effects of longer term use.
Currently there are no E-Cigs available that are licensed as medicines so they are not available on the NHS. However, evidence shows that they can be effective for quitting.
As there are so many brands on the market and very little testing it’s best to stick to the major brands.
E-cigs are not recommended for use in pregnancy or in under 18 year olds.
The Stop Smoking Service can still provide support appointments if you decide to buy/use E-Cigs and can help you get the best out of them.
The National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT), in partnership with New Nicotine Alliance, has produced a short film called ‘The Switch‘ which focuses on switching smoking to e-cigarettes.
All of these films can be accessed via ‘The Switch’ YouTube channel.