Quitting is the best thing you can do, not just for your health, but for the health of those around you. It’s also one of the best things you can do for your wallet! Using NRT products such as patches, gum, mouth spray, lozenges or the inhaler are proven quitting methods.
Quitting doesn’t have to be done the hard way. Cold turkey can work for some folks but not everyone. But before we get to quitting, let’s look at why we smoke.
Try thinking about smoking as two elements: the physical addiction to nicotine (when we need a cigarette) and then the emotional or situational 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 Addiction + Triggers (emotional and routine) = Urge to smoke
For the physical addiction, NRT products such as patches and gum can help manage cravings in the initial days and weeks, allowing you to focus on replacing bad habits with new, healthy routines.
See our top five reasons to jump on NRT:
- They are safe Using NRT products to quit is always safer than continuing to smoke, since they do not contain the dangerous chemicals found in tobacco smoke. The products provide a low dose of nicotine that’s absorbed more slowly compared to the higher, rapidly absorbed dose 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 products – you can’t “overdose” on nicotine by having a cigarette while wearing a patch or using gum, lozenge or spray.
- They are effective There is strong evidence that combining personalised support (such as the Quitline) with NRT products increases your chance of success. NRT products reduce the number and strength of cravings, so you can reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms and focus on beating bad habits. Why put yourself through cravings when you don’t need to?
- They are not expensive Australian smokers can obtain nicotine patches, gum or lozenges at a discount with a prescription from a doctor. With the current leading brand of cigarettes now priced at more than $30 a pack, NRT are far cheaper in comparison and after a short period, you won’t need them anymore. There’s no ongoing cost like smoking. Someone who uses patches plus a gum, lozenge or spray plus calling the Quitline to quit, will spend about $310 over 12 weeks (less if you have a health care card or a GP prescription for patches). Compare that to the cost of cigarettes over 12 weeks, which is about $1,400 for the average smoker.
- They are not addictive NRT products contain far less nicotine than cigarettes, and your body absorbs this nicotine more slowly. There is no evidence that you’ll become dependent on NRT products. When used correctly, they’re a very safe option for smokers.
- Mix it up for the best result Try using a slow-acting nicotine product such as a patch (to reduce withdrawal symptoms like being cranky or having a headache), together with a fast-acting product such as gum, mouth spray, lozenge or inhaler to beat sudden, strong cravings. This is called combination therapy. As the days pass, the urge to smoke will be less frequent and less intense. Even if the cravings have gone away, don’t stop using the products. Use them for at least 8 weeks (preferably 12 weeks) to make sure you’ve well and truly beaten that physical addiction.
The final word
Remember, the best way to quit is not just using NRT products, but also adding personalised support to help you stay quit. Call the Quitline on 13 7848 and get tailored information on how to beat the habit, use nicotine replacement products correctly and other tips and tricks.