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