Other factors in your life
Chemicals in cigarettes change the way some medications work. See your doctor before quitting if you are taking any medication. Stopping smoking can be stressful. So if you have suffered from depression, anxiety or other mental illness, talk to you doctor before quitting.
Choosing the best way to quit
Research shows that people who have the best chance of quitting are those who get some coaching and use quitting medications.
Coaching means getting advice and support. Your coach might be a Quitline advisor, a website, a self-help book, a quitting course leader, or a doctor or other health professional with special training to help people quit. A coach can give you motivation, tips, support and confidence - all the things it's hard to get when you quit on your own! Low-cost help is easy to find.
There are two kinds of quitting medication:
- nicotine replacement products (patch, gum, lozenge, mini-lozenge, tablet (Mini-tab), inhaler)
- prescription medications, such as bupropion (Zyban, Chlorpax) and varenicline (Champix).
If you are addicted to nicotine, using medication can double your chances of quitting successfully.
If you have not used coaching or quitting medications before, visit our Ways to quit section for more information. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any concerns you might have before you start any medication.
Getting the best out of your coach
If you have used a coach before:
- Did you choose a coach that suited you? Use our web tool Finding the right coach to find a coach that suits your needs.
- Were you comfortable with your coach? If you talk to a health professional, make sure it is someone who is trained to help people quit. Use a different coach this time if you want to.
- The internet and self-help material can be useful, but talking to a person is usually best.
- The more contact you have with your coach, the better your chances of quitting. If you use the Quitline, you can arrange to have a Quitline advisor call you before and after you quit at times you agree to. This has been shown to work very well in helping smokers quit and stay quit.
Getting the best out of quitting medications
If you have used medication before:
- Did you choose a medication that suited you?
Nicotine replacement products
- Did you choose the right product for your needs? Read our tips to get the best results in our medication guide. All of them work equally well.
- Did you use your medication in the best way? Did you know that acidic foods and drinks interfere with nicotine from the gum, lozenge and inhaler and you should only drink water in the 15 minutes before using them? Do you know how to make the patch stick properly and that you should not cut it in half? Read our Frequently asked questions section on each product for more tips on best use.
- Did you use your chosen product for long enough? It is important to follow a complete course of the medication you have chosen.
- Did you use the right dose? Your pharmacist can help you choose the right dose of nicotine replacement product for you. Also you can take the Nicotine addiction test to get an idea of what dose you should start with. If you have side effects or still have bad cravings or withdrawal symptoms, talk to your pharmacist about changing the dose.
- Did you still have bad cravings or withdrawal symptoms using one product? Talk to your pharmacist or doctor about using two products at the same time. These are the patch and the 2mg gum, 2mg lozenge or the 1.5mg mini-lozenge.
- Using nicotine replacement products will still increase your chances of quitting even they do not completely control cravings.
- On average, smokers who use nicotine replacement products while quitting make fewer attempts before quitting for good.
- Read the pack insert that should come with your product. Ask your pharmacist for this information if it is not in the pack when you buy it.
- Did you start your medication before you quit as it instructs?
- We recommend reading the pack insert very carefully. It has information about possible side effects. Ask your pharmacist for this information if it is not in the pack when you buy it.
- If you had side effects, did you tell your doctor about them?
If you have any questions, speak to your doctor, your pharmacist or ring the Quitline (13 7848).
You can find detailed information on each product in our Frequently asked questions section.
You can also order a free Quit Pack, which has the booklet Choosing the best way to quit, a more detailed guide on your options for choosing a coach and medication that best suits you.