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Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products: quick tips

All your queries answered with our quick guide to using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products.

Can I use NRT if I’ve smoked?

Unless you’ve gone back to your old smoking amount, don’t stop using your NRT product. It’s not harmful to have a cigarette while using a patch, gum, lozenge, mouth spray or inhalator.

How long do I keep using NRT?

Use for at least eight weeks. Twelve weeks is even better.

NRT in the morning or afternoon?

Patches are placed on in the morning and left on all day. If you're using gum, lozenge, mouth spray or inhalator, try to use over the whole day rather than in clumps. Also, rather than waiting for cravings to hit, try to anticipate them. 

Can I use NRT before and after food?

Leave at least 15 minutes before using the gum, lozenge, spray or inhalator. You can eat after (but not during) using them. Food or acidic drinks can limit absorption of NRT.

Do I just wait for a craving before taking NRT?

It’s best to try to anticipate your cravings when using gum, lozenge, spray or inhalator. Use the NRT product at the times you would have smoked.

Why do I have hiccups?

Hiccups are usually a sign that you’re using the NRT product the wrong way. You’re swallowing the nicotine rather than letting it get absorbed by your mouth. Park that gum, don’t chew that lozenge and make sure the spray goes under the tongue!

Do I puff the NRT inhalator like a cigarette?

Take frequent little sips of the inhalator (don’t inhale deeply). As a tip, think of how many puffs you would normally take of each cigarette you would have had and multiply that by eight. If you puff your morning cig 10 times, take 80 little sips on the inhalator as soon as you wake. More on how to use the inhalator.

I’m using the NRT mouth spray. Why does my throat hurt?

Spray the mouth spray under tongue or into side of your mouth (not into the back of your throat). More info on how to use the mouth spray. 

Why is my skin itchy where I put the NRT patch?

It’s important to keep moving the patch around each day – try not to place it in the same spot. You can put it anywhere on your arms, stomach, chest or back. More on how to use the patch. 

Can I use two NRT products?

You can use combination therapy, which is when you use patches plus mouth spray, gum, lozenge or Inhalator. In fact, combination therapy with Quitline support is one of the most effective ways to quit smoking. 

I'd like to read more about each NRT product

We have a separate page on each product: patches, mouth spray, gum, lozenge, inhalator. We also have a page on combination therapy: patches plus mouth spray, gum, lozenge or inhalator. Combination therapy together with Quitline advice is one of the most effective ways to quit smoking. 

I'd like to talk to someone about NRT products

Chat to your GP or talk to one of our Quit Specialists. You can call Quitline on 13 7848 or request a callback.

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