Products Available to Help You Give Up Smoking
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) helps you deal with nicotine withdrawal cravings, reduces your urge to smoke and helps boost your morale, as well as doubling your chance of giving up. NRT works differently to cigarettes. It contains ‘therapeutic nicotine' without toxic chemicals like tar or carbon monoxide and does not cause cancer.
Your doctor can prescribe NRT for you, or you can buy it over the counter at your pharmacy. It is suitable for most people. However you should check with your doctor or Pharmacist if you are pregnant, have a heart or circulatory condition or have a health problem for which you are taking regular medication.
NRT gum is a chewing gum that contains nicotine, which is released into the body through the cheek as you chew. It is ideal if you have irregular smoking habits, for example, if you smoke when you are stressed or only smoke in the evening. The strength of the gum you use will depend on the number of cigarettes you smoke each day or how quickly you have a cigarette after waking up.
The gum should be chewed in a particular way to ensure effectiveness:
1. Chew the gum slowly at first for a few minutes until the flavour is released
2. Rest the gum between the side of your mouth and your teeth
3. When the taste has faded, start chewing again
4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 for up to 30 minutes
These are discreet and simple to use, delivering a 16 or 24 hour stream of nicotine through the skin into the body. They are available flesh coloured or clear. The strength of the patch you use will depend on how many cigarettes you smoke each day. As your cravings reduce, you can reduce the strength of the patch. For both types of patches, you should apply the new patch to a different area of the skin to avoid irritating the skin.
16 hour patches
These are designed to be worn during daytime hours only. You apply one in the morning and
remove it before going to bed.
24 hour patches
These are particularly suitable if you suffer from the late night and early morning cravings.
These are an alternative to gum and are also available in different strengths and flavours. The strength of the lozenge you use will depend on the number of cigarettes you smoke each day, or how quickly you have a cigarette after waking up. Gradually reduce the number of lozenges you use each day until you no longer need them. The 4mg lozenge can also help you to control your weight while you quit by helping curb your increased appetite.
Like gum, the nicotine is absorbed through the lining of the mouth and there is a specific way to use them:
- Suck the lozenge at first for a few minutes until the flavour is released
- Rest the lozenge between the side of your mouth and teeth
- When the taste has faded, suck the lozenge again
- Repeat steps 1 to 3 for up to 30 minutes.
This provides a concentrated, fast acting dose of nicotine, so is suitable if you are a heavy smoker (20+ a day) with very strong cravings. Though it may irritate the nose and throat for the first few days, this effect soon wears off. It can be used twice an hour for eight weeks, after which time the dosage should be reduced. There is only one strength of nasal spray available, 10mg/ml. The nasal spray is only available from the pharmacy counter.
This provides a small dose of nicotine to help manage cravings and acts within 60 seconds. It can be used when a craving occurs, normally due to habitual cravings such as following a meal. One or two sprays can be used as necessary.
Microtabs are tiny tablets that are placed under the tongue. They are very discreet and ideal if you get your worst cravings in response to stress or in certain situations and do not want to broadcast the fact that you are taking NRT. They release nicotine slowly as they dissolve. The number of microtabs you use each day is dependent on how many cigarettes you smoke, however no more than 40 microtabs must be used in a day. After 12 weeks you should aim to gradually reduce the number used each day. There is only one strength of microtab available, 2mg.
This mimics a cigarette, so can be useful if you miss holding a cigarette in your hands. You use the inhalator when you get the urge to smoke. You can take shallow or deep puffs and the nicotine is inhaled into your lungs and into the body. Each cartridge contains 10mg of nicotine. These are only available from the pharmacy counter.
If you do experience any side effects, feel free to come and discuss this with your Pharmacist, who will be happy to help. Also, if you are taking any other medication, please discuss this with your Pharmacist who can find the right NRT product for you.