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Nicotine replacement products

People who use nicotine replacement products are more likely to quit and stay stopped.

Take the nicotine addiction test to find out if you could benefit from a nicotine replacement product.

Using nicotine replacement products to quit is always safer than continuing to smoke – they do not contain the many dangerous chemicals found in tobacco smoke. 

Nicotine replacement products allow you to focus on breaking your smoking habits and routines.

Remember: the most effective way to quit is:

Coaching   +   Nicotine Replacement Product or Quitting Medication

You can discuss with your pharmacist, doctor or Quit Specialist which product would best suit you. Nicotine products are available at pharmacies and some supermarkets. Certain nicotine patches are available at a cheaper price through your GP (see below).

Nicotine patches

The patch is worn on the skin and your body absorbs nicotine from it continuously.

The nicotine patch comes in three sizes and you can usually start with the strongest patch  either a 15 or 25mg, 16 hour patch (for use during the day only); or a 21mg, 24 hour patch (for use during the day and overnight). If you smoke 15 or more cigarettes per day, you may also use a type of patch for two weeks leading up to your quit day (called a pre-quit patch). To read more download the Nicotine Patches information sheet.

Government Subsidised Patches

Since February 2011, Australian smokers have been able to access nicotine patches under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). To buy the discounted patches you need to get a prescription from your doctor or authorised medical practitioner, and take it to your pharmacist.

Patches on the PBS (General Schedule) are available as 1 X 12 week supply each year, consisting of either:

  • 1 x 12 week supply of the Nicabate 21mg, 24hr (day and night) patch, or
  • 1 x 12 week supply of the Nicorette 25mg, 16hr (day) patch or
  • 1 x 12 week supply consisting of 4 weeks of the Nicotinell 21mg, 24hr (day and night) patch + 4 weeks of the 14mg, 24hr patch + 4 weeks of the 7 mg, 24hr patch (Steps 1, 2 and 3, to help you wean off nicotine at a slower rate)

Gum, lozenge, mouth spray and inhalator

The gum, lozenge, mouth spray and inhalator all work by replacing some of the nicotine you would normally inhale from cigarettes.

To release the nicotine you chew the gum (and park it inside your cheek), suck the lozenge, spray the mouth spray (into the side of your mouth or under your tongue), or suck on the cigarette-shaped inhalator. The nicotine is then absorbed through the lining of your mouth.

Using these products can help to reduce withdrawal symptoms when you quit, such as cravings, irritability and anxiety. To read more download Gum, Lozenge, Mouth Spray or Inhalator information sheets.

Combination therapy

Combination therapy means using two types of nicotine replacement products at the same time. The approved combinations in Australia are:

nicotine patch (15 mg, 16 hour patch; or the 21mg, 24 hour patch)

with

nicotine gum (2mg) OR lozenge (1.5mg or 2mg) OR inhalator OR mouth spray

Combination therapy may be recommended if you have had cravings or not succeeded in quitting when using a single nicotine replacement product. It is usually recommended for heavy smokers. You should talk to your doctor or pharmacist first before using combination therapy.

Proper use

It is important to use the nicotine replacement products properly and follow the instructions provided with the product e.g. the gum is not like normal chewing gum and requires a specific chew-and-rest technique for it to work. You will have more chance of success using these products if you use them regularly throughout the day as well as when you have cravings. Also, doctors recommend using them for at least eight weeks. Call Quitline if you’re unsure.

Nicotine Addiction Test

Take the nicotine addiction test and get advice about the best way to quit.

Your level: Unknown. Complete the test below to find out.

Nicotine Addiction Test
  1. How soon after waking do you smoke your first cigarette?
    How soon after waking do you smoke your first cigarette?
  2. How many cigarettes a day do you smoke?
    How many cigarettes a day do you smoke?

Low dependence

Your answers indicate that you have a low addiction to nicotine. This doesn’t mean you’re safe from getting a smoking related illness. The good news is you may not need nicotine replacement products or quitting medication to quit successfully. However, you may still experience bad cravings. Make sure you consult your doctor, pharmacist or health professional or call the Quitline on 13 7848 for advice.

Habits can trigger cravings. To increase your chance of quitting it helps to work out ways to break your regular habits that involve smoking.

For example:

  • Plan changes in your daily routine to help you adjust to being a nonsmoker. For example, driving or walking a different route to work, or planning a new way to unwind after work, can help stop you thinking about your old smoking habits.
  • It takes about 15 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it's full after a meal. Instead of using a cigarette to distract yourself from hunger, try sipping on a drink, or brush your teeth immediately after meals.
  • Take all your normal breaks but with a cup of herbal tea or other drink, instead of a cigarette, or hold your cup in your other hand.
  • Try sitting in a different chair to watch TV, and having a shower as soon as you get up, if these are times you usually smoke.
  • Avoid challenging occasions where there will be plenty of cigarettes available, particularly if there will also be alcohol around.

Low to moderate dependence

Your answers indicate that you have a low to moderate addiction to nicotine. You may be able to quit successfully with some assistance from a good coach (like Quitline) in combination with nicotine replacement products or quitting medication.

Call the Quitline on 13 7848 for advice from a friendly professional.

Habits can also trigger cravings. It will increase your chance of quitting if you work out ways to break your regular habits that involve smoking.

For example:

  • Plan changes in your daily routine to help you adjust to being a nonsmoker. For example, driving or walking a different route to work, or planning a new way to unwind after work, can help stop you thinking about your old smoking habits.
  • It takes about 15 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it's full after a meal. Instead of using a cigarette to distract yourself from hunger, try sipping on a drink, or brush your teeth immediately after meals.
  • Take all your normal breaks but with a cup of herbal tea or other drink, instead of a cigarette, or hold your cup in your other hand.
  • Try sitting in a different chair to watch TV, and having a shower as soon as you get up, if these are times you usually smoke.
  • Avoid challenging occasions where there will be plenty of cigarettes available, particularly if there will also be alcohol around.

Moderate dependence

Your answers indicate that you have a moderate addiction to nicotine. You will benefit from professional advice. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or health professional about using nicotine replacement products or quitting medication to help you quit, and make sure you call the Quitline on 13 7848.

You will also need to work out ways in which you can break your smoking habits, and manage your routines.

Think about when, where and why you smoke.

Being in some situations after you have quit can trigger cravings. Knowing what makes you want to smoke can help you plan how to deal with trigger situations when you're quitting.

  • If you usually smoke when you first wake up, have a shower instead.
  • If you smoke when you're drinking, switch to non-alcoholic drinks for a while.

Emotions like stress, anger, sadness or frustration might make you feel like smoking. Try to work out ways to deal with these feelings.

  • If you usually smoke when you're stressed, try using a stress ball instead or talk to someone about it.
  • If you reward yourself with a cigarette, relax with a hot drink, have a night out with friends or buy your favourite magazine instead.

High dependence

Your answers indicate you have a high addiction to nicotine, but this shouldn’t be barrier to quitting. Speak to your doctor about using nicotine replacement products or quitting medication and seek support like the Quitline 13 7848.

If you are addicted and use nicotine replacement products or quitting medications properly, they can reduce withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, irritability and mood swings. You can greatly increase your chances of successfully quitting.

If you have a high dependence you may benefit from combination therapy, which means using an approved combination of two types of nicotine replacement products.

Make sure to consult your doctor, pharmacist or health professional about what might suit you.

Using a good coach such as the Quitline is also highly recommended.

 

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