Reducing the cravings

Switching to vaping, using nicotine replacement products, or medicines are the best ways to reduce smoking cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine replacement

It's true that people become addicted to nicotine in tobacco and miss it when they quit. But nicotine isn't the thing that causes illnesses like cancer, heart disease, stroke and lung disease. Instead, it's the tar and toxins in tobacco smoke that cause most of the harm.

There are a range of nicotine replacement products (NRT) available in New Zealand includes gum, patch, lozenge, inhalator and mouth spray. Patches, gum and lozenges are currently subsidised if you go through a Quit Coach or your GP – but you can choose to buy other products at a pharmacy if you’d prefer.

Nicotine isn't the thing that causes illnesses like cancer, heart disease, stroke and lung disease.

Nicotine patches

Some people only put patches on when they want a cigarette. But patches release nicotine slowly, so you won't get the same quick hit as a cigarette. They need to stay on right through the day and overnight.

It can help to start using a patch a week before you quit cigarettes to start getting used to these. It might even reduce the number of cigarettes you want to smoke that week. Don't worry about using the patch and smoking at the same time. You're very unlikely to overdose on nicotine.

Nicotine gum

Nicotine gum is not regular chewing gum and at first you might not think it tastes great. But once you get the hang of just chewing it a little bit, and then resting it against the side of your mouth, it will really help reduce the cravings.

Nicotine replacement works really well if you're using it right.

Check out these videos for advice on how to use nicotine products well:

Other medicines

If you've already tried NRT and want to try something else, ask your Quit Coach or GP about other medications. There are a few options like Varenicline (Champix, now Varenicline Pfizer), Bupropion (Zyban) and Nortripyline (Norpress).

Varenicline is one of the most effective products to reduce withdrawal symptoms – and most people don’t need to use nicotine products with it.

You can ask your GP for a script, while you're there talking about other stuff – and some Quit Coaches can also help you get a script for this.

Ask a Quit Coach, pharmacist or doctor about using medicines including nicotine replacement.

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