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5 reasons to use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

If you're stopping smoking, using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as patches, gum, mouth spray, lozenges or the inhalator, along with counselling from a service like Quitline is the most effective way to quit.

Try thinking about smoking as having two elements: the physical dependence on nicotine (when we need a cigarette) and then the triggers (when we want a cigarette) such as stress, alcohol or a work break. 

In order to quit, it helps to think about both of these aspects and how you will manage them.

Nicotine dependence + Triggers (emotional, routine) = Urge to smoke

For the physical dependence, NRT such as patches and gum can help manage cravings in the initial days and weeks, allowing you to focus on managing your emotional and habitual (routine) triggers.

Research shows that using NRT plus a counselling service like Quitline is the most effective way to stop smoking for good.

  • They are safe. Using NRT  to quit is safer than continuing to smoke, since they do not contain the dangerous chemicals found in tobacco smoke. NRT provides some of the nicotine and is absorbed more slowly compared to the higher, rapidly absorbed amount of nicotine in a cigarette. Don’t worry if you slip-up and have a smoke when you’re wearing a patch or using other NRT types - keep going.

  • They are effective. Research shows that combining personalised support (such as Quitline 13 7848) with NRT increases your likelihood of success. NRT reduces cravings and feelings of withdrawal so you can focus on managing your triggers.

  • They have low addictive potential. NRT contains less nicotine than cigarettes, and your body absorbs this nicotine more slowly. When used correctly, NRT is an effective and safe option for people trying to stop smoking.

  • They are cost effective. NRT is cheaper in comparison to smoking and after a short period, you won’t need NRT anymore. There’s no ongoing cost like smoking. You can get discounted nicotine patches on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). You need to get a prescription from your doctor, which you take to your pharmacist. Under the Closing the Gap Scheme, eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can access nicotine patches for free or for a small co-payment.

  • Mix it up for the best result. Try using a long-acting nicotine patch (to provide a steady dose of nicotine all day), together with a faster-acting product such as gummouth spraylozenge or inhalator to reduce sudden, strong cravings. This is called combination therapy. As the days pass, cravings to smoke will be less frequent and less intense. Even if the cravings have gone away, don’t stop using NRT. NRT works best when used for a least 8 weeks (often longer). Talk to your health professional about the best approach for you.

The final word

Remember, using NRT along with counselling from a service like Quitline is the most effective way to stop smoking.

Quitline counsellors can offer you free advice and support to help you stop smoking and/or vaping. They will work with you to help you build and keep up your motivation, create a personalised plan that works for you, and provide guidance and encouragement along the way. Quitline counsellors can also support you if you are using vapes to stop smoking. 

There are many ways to get in touch with Quitline 13 7848, including webchat, Messenger and more: 

Please note,this information is for general use only.  Please consult your health professional for further advice.  

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