Nicotine replacement products help relieve some of the withdrawal symptoms people experience
when they quit smoking. Three products for nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) are currently available
over-the-counter in the U.S., including two nicotine patches and nicotine gum. Nicotine nasal spray and a nicotine inhaler
are available only by prescription.
A new non-nicotine pill is also available as a smoking cessation option.
An aqua filter cigarette holder (available in drug stores) can reduce the
tar and irritation to your throat even if you're not ready to quit completely.
To be most effective, nicotine
replacement products should be used in conjunction with a behavior change program. The goal in using nicotine
medications is to stop smoking completely. If you plan to take nicotine medications, begin using them on the day you quit. If
you continue to have strong urges to smoke or are struggling to stop smoking completely, ask your health care provider
about additional help.
The nicotine patch releases a constant amount of nicotine in the body. The patches are similar to
adhesive bandages and are available in different shapes and sizes. A larger patch delivers more nicotine through the skin.
Less nicotine is obtained through the patch than in cigarettes. The patch also does not contain all the tars and
poisonous gases that are found in cigarettes. Studies have shown that it is much easier to give up the patch than it
would be to give up cigarettes for two reasons. First, people usually develop cravings for things that provide immediate
satisfaction, such as chocolate. With the patch, the nicotine level in the body stays relatively constant day after day.
There is no immediate satisfaction, so there is little craving for a patch. Second, anything people do often becomes a habit.
Since the patch is applied only once a day, there is no strong habit to break. The patch may also have side effects, so read
the information packet carefully.
Where to get more information on smoking.
A non-nicotine pill, bupropion hydrochloride (Zyban) was approved in 1997 to help smokers quit. The drug,
available by prescription only, is also sold as an antidepressant under the name Wellbutrin. Following the
doctor's orders is necessary with all types of nicotine replacement therapy. Use these products only as prescribed or
according to labeling. These products can also be dangerous for pregnant women. Keep in mind that it is contraindicated
with some protease inhibitors.
Action on Smoking and Health
Produces materials on a variety of smoking and health topics for the public with
emphasis on legal action to protect nonsmokers' health.
2013 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20006 (202)