Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

Nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalators and sprays can help you combat the cravings your body gets for nicotine when you quit smoking.

Talk to a trained adviser

on the Greater Manchester Stop Smoking Helpline: 0300 123 1044

Or find help to quit near you

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Nicotine Replacement Therapy – how it works

Nicotine is highly addictive and is the main reason that people get hooked on smoking. However, it is also the least harmful of all the chemicals found in cigarettes. It does not cause cancer or the other serious health problems linked to smoking. This is why it is found in stop smoking aids.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) replaces the nicotine found in tobacco, without the other chemicals that harm your health. Nicotine patches are long-lasting and release nicotine over 16 or 24 hours. Sprays, gum, lozenges and inhalators are designed to act fast and to be used when you get a craving to smoke. They can also be used alongside patches. NRT can be used with stop smoking medications like Varenicline or Zyban or with an e-cigarette.

Different types of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

Patches are placed directly onto your skin. They release nicotine into your blood stream and are available in a range of strengths, from 7mg to 25mg.

There are two ways to use patches: during the time you are awake (16 hour patches) or both day and night (24 hour patches). The 24 hour patch may cause some sleep disturbance but is helpful for people who have strong cravings shortly after waking up.

Whichever patch strength you start on, you should aim to gradually reduce the strength over time before stopping the use of patches completely. Some people may experience mild skin irritation when using patches – this can be minimised if you apply the patch to a different part of your body each time.

Nicotine replacement gum comes in two different strengths – 2mg and 4mg. It releases nicotine into body through your mouth’s lining when chewed.

Chew to get a strong flavour and then rest the gum between your cheek and gum. Parking it here will ensure the nicotine is released into your bloodstream. Once the taste fades you will need to chew and park again to release more nicotine. Discard the gum once the taste from chewing has faded.

Nicotine replacement lozenges work similarly to gum. To release the nicotine from the lozenge, suck until the taste becomes strong. After this you can rest the lozenge inside your cheek - once the taste fades you will need to suck again to release more nicotine. Suck until the lozenge has completely dissolved - each one should last 20 to 30 minutes.

Mouth or nose sprays are an effective way to get rapid relief from cravings, as nicotine is sprayed directly into your mouth or nose and absorbed very quickly. Sprays can reduce cravings after just one minute.

An inhalator looks like a plastic cigarette. It releases nicotine vapour which gets absorbed through your mouth and throat. Some people like using an inhalator as it mimics the action of smoking. Inhalators work very quickly so can be used whenever you feel strong cravings for a cigarette.

Ways to quit

Stop smoking aids and support can help you to quit.

With support

Smokers who quit with support from other people, whether trained advisers or family and friends, are more likely to quit successfully.

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Going it alone

Even if you choose not to ask others for support, stop smoking aids can help you deal with cravings when you quit.

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