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Stop smoking treatments and medication

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Nicotine replacement therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is the name given to stop-smoking medicines that release nicotine into the bloodstream to help counter cravings and reduce other physical withdrawal symptoms when you quit (nausea, headaches, irritability, dizziness).

How to use NRT

You can use NRT to relieve cravings once you have stopped smoking completely. Some of the products can also be used to help you cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke before you give up completely.

Smoking cessation products comes in the form of chewing gum, nasal spray, mouth spray, inhalator, microtabs, lozenges and patches. You decrease the amount you use over time, either by using lower strengths of the products, or by using them less frequently.

If you’re not sure which method is best for you, then visit your local LloydsPharmacy who will be happy to advise you on the best way to reach your smoking goals. Or find out more about our free NHS stop smoking service here.

Stop smoking tool

Where can I get NRT?

NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) is available to buy online and in-store at LloydsPharmacy and other pharmacies. For certain products there may be age restrictions in place. You can also get NRT through the NHS Stop Smoking Service which is available at selected LloydsPharmacy stores. Our pharmacist will be able to recommend the right products for you to help you stop smoking.

Who can use nicotine replacement therapy?

NRT is can be used by most people, including:

  • Adults and children over 12 years of age
  • Pregnant women
  • Breastfeeding women

It’s always best to speak to a pharmacist or doctor before using NRT. Some nicotine lozenges and inhalators may not be suitable for those under 18 years of age, so make sure to read product packaging and leaflets carefully.

Are there any side effects?

As with any treatment there are possible side effects. The side effects of NRT tend to be mild, however if you’re worried you should talk to your GP. You may need to try a different type or brand of NRT.

Side effects can include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Vivid dreams
  • Upset stomach
  • Patches can cause skin irritation
  • Nasal sprays can cause nose, throat and eye irritation

The above side effects may differ depending on which smoking products you are using so it’s always best to ask a pharmacist for advice.

Nicotine patches

Nicotine patches are suitable for use by moderate to heavy smoker who smoke throughout the day. They are simply applied to the skin, usually on the upper arm.

They work by releasing nicotine throughout the day. Nicotine patches from brands like Nicorette, are normally available in three strengths.

Light smokers, smoking less than 10 cigarettes per day are recommended to start at the middle strength for 6 weeks and decrease the dose to the lower strength for a further 2 weeks.

Buy stop smoking patches

How to use nicotine patches

Generally, nicotine patches are worn on the upper arm, back or chest. The skin needs to be clean and dry; it also helps if the area is relatively hairless  This allows the patch to stick to your skin. Make sure to read and follow the instructions on the nicotine patch box as these can vary, however, only one patch should be worn at a time.

Nicotine patches can be worn for 16 to 24 hours to help prevent cravings; however, this time may vary depending on the type of patch you choose. When applying a new patch, you’ll need to stick it to a new area of skin to avoid irritation.

Where can I get it?

Nicotine patches can be bought online and in-store at your local pharmacy or supermarket. They can also be recommended to you as part of the NHS Stop Smoking Service available in your local LloydsPharmacy. The number of cigarettes you smoke per day will determine the nicotine strength included in the patch. If you’re unsure which nicotine patch is right for you ask a pharmacist.

Nicotine gum

Nicotine gum is suitable for people who don’t need a continuous supply of nicotine but need help with withdrawal symptoms. The gum must be chewed until it tastes strong and then placed between the gum and cheek to absorb the nicotine.

Similar to nicotine patches, nicotine gum from brands like NiQuitin, comes in different strengths depending on what stage you are at in quitting smoking.

How to use nicotine gum

Nicotine gum can be used almost like regular chewing gum to help fight cravings throughout the day. It’s recommended that you chew the gum slowly to help release the taste and allow the nicotine to be absorbed. As with any nicotine product make sure to read the instructions carefully, as these can vary between brands.

Where can I get nicotine gum from?

You can buy nicotine gum in pharmacies and supermarkets, both online and instore. When it comes to gum flavours and nicotine strengths the choice is yours. Simply find the right gum for you based on the number of cigarettes you smoke a day.

Buy stop smoking gum

Nicotine inhalators

Nicotine inhalators are designed for people who like the hand to mouth action of smoking. The nicotine inhalator is used to inhale the nicotine via your mouth.

Nicotine inhalators are used as and when you get a craving and are good for those that like to keep their hands busy. Please note a maximum usage of 12 cartridges daily.

Buy inhalators

How to use a nicotine inhalator

An inhalator replaces the hand-to-mouth action of smoking a cigarette. When you puff on an inhalator it releases nicotine into the body to help reduce cravings. You can either take deep breaths or shallow puffs on the end of your inhalator, it’s up to you. Make sure to read the instructions carefully before use and choose the right nicotine content based on your current smoking habits.

Where can I get it?

As with other forms of NRT, inhalators can be bought online and instore. If you’re not sure which one would be best for you ask a pharmacist for advice. Nicotine inhalators can also be recommended as part of the LloydsPharmacy Stop Smoking Service.

eCigarettes

eCigarettes look like real cigarettes, but contain nicotine in liquid form and a battery-operated heater. When the liquid nicotine is heated up, it emits a vapour, which you inhale. They can be a helpful way to cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke before quitting smoking for good.

How to use an e-cigarette

How you use an e-cigarette will depend on whether you’ve chosen a liquid filled or cartridge device. Simply follow the instructions on the box to set up your e-cigarette or fill it with e-liquid. Once ready to go you can switch it on and draw on the mouthpiece like you would a cigarette.

Where can I get it?

Although e-cigarettes are not a form of nicotine replacement therapy but may be an option if nicotine replacement therapy doesn't suit you. They’re available from retailers online and on the high street including your local pharmacy. If you’re not sure if an e-cigarette is right for you speak to a pharmacist.

Prescription only medicines

You can now use our convenient service for an online consultation to obtain an alternative treatment that can more than triple your chances of quitting successfully, without the need to see a doctor face to face.

Simply visit our Online Doctor, register and fill in the online questionnaire. The doctor will review your responses to confirm if it’s appropriate to prescribe you the medicine then will either have the medicine posted to you or sent ready for you to pick up in store.

Online Doctor

References

www.nhs.uk/conditions/stop-smoking-treatments/