Reducing the cravings

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

Man in doorway

Nicotine replacements

Nicotine is what gets a lot of people addicted to smoking. It’s also what you crave when trying to give up.

The good news is that nicotine isn’t the cause of illnesses like cancer, heart disease, stroke, and lung disease. It's the tar and toxins in tobacco smoke that do the most harm.

In Aoteaora, you can get access to a range of nicotine replacement products (NRT):

  • gum
  • patches 
  • lozenges 
  • inhalator
  • mouth spray 

Patches, gum and lozenges are currently subsidised through a Quit Coach or your GP, but if you’d prefer another product you can buy them at a pharmacy.

When to use nicotine patches

Nicotine patches helps for those ongoing cravings. Some people only put patches on when they want a cigarette. Patches release nicotine slowly, so you won't get the same quick hit as a cigarette. 

Patches need to stay on day and night. You can start using a patch a week before you quit cigarettes to get used to them. You might find yourself needing fewer cigarettes that week.

Don't worry about using the patch and smoking at the same time. You're very unlikely to overdose on nicotine.

When to use nicotine gum

Nicotine gum is not regular chewing gum and the first taste isn’t great! Once you get the hang of it just a bit though, you’ll find that it really helps in your battle to reduce the cravings.

Get free nicotine replacements and support with a Quit Coach

Register for a Quit Coach in 1 min
Register for Quitline in just 1 minute

Pharmacies with quit smoking support

Some pharmacies can provide funded Nicotine Replacement Therapy without a prescription. This may include nicotine gum, patches, or lozenges. They may also be able to refer you to a local stop smoking service or Quitline.

Find a pharmacy with quit smoking services

Watch these videos for advice on using nicotine replacements:

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.

(NOTE – Varenicline is currently unavailable due to supply issues.  The distributor, Pfizer, have paused distribution due to impurity concerns.  If you are currently using Varenicline, Pfizer have advised that any product currently in the market is safe, but it is currently unavailable for new or repeat prescriptions. For other options, speak with your doctor.  Cessation support and nicotine replacement therapy can be accessed from local Stop Smoking Services and Quitline)

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