How To Quit Smoking With Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Quitting smoking is an uphill battle; full of intense cravings, withdrawal symptoms and non-stop dedication, in order to kick the habit once and for all.

To stay smoke-free, many people try nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to lend a helping hand.

Containing small doses of nicotine, these products help fight withdrawal symptoms by providing your body with nicotine that your body has become dependent on.[1] Unlike cigarettes, smoking cessation products do not contain harmful chemicals or cancer-causing carcinogens and toxins, such as tar and carbon monoxide.[2]

When used properly, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can double your chances of successfully quitting smoking.[3] To optimize your chances of success, here is everything you need to know to ensure you get the most out of this quit smoking aid:

1. Find out if it’s right for you

While some people opt to quit smoking by giving it up all at once and going ‘cold turkey’, others prefer to rely on assistance. If this sounds like you, NRT might be the solution you’ve been looking for. Before you make your decision, it’s important to know ahead of time that NRT products should not be used by:[4]

  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • People with an allergy to nicotine 
  • People under the age of 18
  • Those who have heart problems or underlying heart conditions

Be sure to read the label and package insert for any NRT product before using it.

2. Find the right type of nicotine replacement therapy for you

With so many different forms of quit aids available, it can feel a bit daunting when choosing one that may be the right fit for you. One form of NRT over the other has not been proven to be more effective or have better success rates.[5] In order to determine which therapy method is best for you, it’s important to analyze your lifestyle and smoking pattern.

Are you looking for a convenient option to suit your active lifestyle? Or do you perhaps want a progressive form of therapy that involves more than a once-a-day application?

Here are popular NRT options that you can choose from:

Nicotine patches are a convenient option as they only have to be applied once a day. You can wear the patch discreetly under your clothes and it will deliver a controlled dose of nicotine to your body over an extended period of time.[6]

Nicotine gum offers fast and effective relief to relieve cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Gradually, you reduce your nicotine intake by reducing the number of pieces of gum you chew each day. This usually happens over a period of months. You can also choose from a variety of flavours, including: Ultra Fresh Mint, Extreme Chill Mint, Fresh Fruit and Cinnamon.[7]

The Inhaler consists of a mouthpiece and a replaceable nicotine cartridge. When you draw on the mouthpiece, the cartridge releases nicotine to help relieve cravings and withdrawal symptoms.  Because it is held like a cigarette, it keeps your hands busy.[8]

3. Follow the instructions

Whichever type of nicotine replacement therapy you use, you will get the most out of it if you follow the package instructions. Whether it’s when to take the spray or how to chew nicotine gum, it’s important to know what you’re doing.

One common issue faced by smokers is not consistently using their chosen form of nicotine replacement therapy for long enough. Figures from the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit suggest that just one in four people use nicotine patches for long enough.

In the case of patches such as NICODERM, use is recommended for at least 10 weeks. For nicotine gums such as NICORETTE, the suggested program will last at least 3 months.

What else do I need to know about NRT?

 Take each dose of your NRT as recommended to you. Do not alter the dosage; this could affect the effectiveness and efficiency of the medication.[9]

It is possible to combine nicotine patches with other NRT products, but before you do, consult with your doctor or healthcare professional to ensure it’s the right solution for you.