Smoking Cessation

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Do you Need Help to Quit?

For help and advice, there are various websites you can visit including: (Please be advised the link opens using Goggle Chrome).

You can get a free personal plan to help you quit:

Stop Smoking Treatments

If you want to stop smoking, any pharmacy can advise you on products to help you beat your addiction and reduce withdrawal symptoms.

The best treatment for you will depend on your personal preference, your age, whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and any medical conditions you have. 

An example of something that may be recommended is:

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

The main reason that people smoke is because they are addicted to nicotine. NRT is a medication that provides you with a low level of nicotine, without the tar, carbon monoxide and other poisonous chemicals present in tobacco smoke.

It can help reduce unpleasant withdrawal effects, such as bad moods and cravings which may occur when you stop smoking.

Where to Get it and How to Use it

NRT can be bought from pharmacies and some shops. 

It’s available as:

  • Skin patches.
  • Chewing gum.
  • Inhalators (which look like plastic cigarettes).
  • Tablets, oral strips and lozenges.
  • Nasal and mouth spray.

Patches release nicotine slowly. Some are worn all the time and some should be taken off at night. Inhalators, gum and sprays act more quickly and may be better for alleviating cravings.

There’s no evidence that any single type of NRT is more effective than another. But there is good evidence to show that using a combination of NRT is more effective than using a single product.

Often the best way to use NRT is to combine a patch with a faster acting form such as gum, inhalator or nasal spray.

Treatment with NRT usually lasts 8-12 weeks, before you gradually reduce the dose and eventually stop.

Who Can Use it

Most people are able to use NRT, including:

  • Adults and children over 12 years of age – although children under 18 shouldn’t use the lozenges without getting medical advice first.
  • Pregnant women – your doctor may suggest NRT if they think it would help you quit; 
  • Breastfeeding women – your doctor can advise you on how to do this safely.

Always read the packet or leaflet before using NRT to check whether it’s suitable for you.

Sometimes it may be advisable to get medical advice first, for example if you have kidney or liver problems, or you’ve recently had a heart attack or a stroke.

Possible Side Effects

Side effects of NRT can include:

  • Skin irritation when using patches
  • Irritation of nose, throat or eyes when using a nasal spray
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia) sometimes with vivid dreams
  • An upset stomach
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

Any side effects are usually mild. But if they’re particularly troublesome, get some advice from a pharmacist or your GP.