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Choosing the right type of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

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When choosing a type of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), think about which method best suits you and your pattern of smoking.

Before you choose

Some points to help you to choose the best type of NRT for you:

  • Nicotine gums, lozenges and inhalers are cigarette substitutes. You can put them into your mouth, they let you control your dosage and help to keep cravings under control.
  • Nicotine gums and lozenges are usually sugar-free. If you are diabetic and have any doubts, check the ingredients on the packaging.
  • Nicotine mouth spray is one of the fastest acting products and works quickly when you need it.
  • Nicotine inhalers are like a cigarette in the sense that you hold them in your hand and puff on the inhaler. They are also fast-acting.
  • Nicotine patches are convenient because you only have to put them on once a day.
  • You may not be able to use patches or inhalers because of allergies or other conditions. If you are concerned about this, check the packaging or talk to your GP.
  • Nicotine gum may stick to dentures or dental work, making it hard to chew.

How to use NRT

Whatever type you use, take NRT at the recommended dose.

The recommended treatment time for all NRT products is 12 weeks. You should take NRT for a minimum of 8 weeks.

Read the instructions that came with your NRT. Only use NRT for as long as it's recommended.

If you use a different dose or stop taking it too soon, your NRT won't work the way it should.

Talk to your stop smoking advisor, pharmacist or GP about the right option for you. You can call the Quitline for advice on 1800 201 203.

Combination therapy

Combination therapy means using a fast-acting form of NRT at the same time as the nicotine patch. You use them both in combination.

You only need to use one nicotine patch each day. But, with combination therapy, you can also use a fast-acting form of NRT on the hour, every hour. Fast-acting forms of NRT include the gum, spray, lozenge or inhaler. Using the fast-acting NRT may help if you get cravings throughout the day.

Using just one type of NRT may not have worked for you in the past. Combination therapy can increase your chances of quitting.

Related topics

Nicotine gum

Nicotine patches

Nicotine inhaler

Nicotine lozenges

Nicotine mouth spray

page last reviewed: 29/03/2019
next review due: 29/03/2022

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