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Top strategies to cope with withdrawal

Coping with nicotine withdrawal, such as irritation, strong cravings and poor concentration, can be the most difficult part of going smokefree.

If you’re struggling, consider using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products or quitting medication.


NRT products like patches, mouth spray, lozenges, gum and inhalator, and quitting medications like Champix (varenicline) or Zyban (bupropion), are designed to ease your withdrawal symptoms. This means you'll feel less irritation and get less cravings. You're more likely to stay quit. If you use NRT or quitting medication plus calls to Quitline, you've got the most effective quitting method. 

If you choose NRT, we recommend what's called combination therapy: patches plus a fast-acting NRT prodcut like mouth spray or lozenge. The patches keep you covered all day, while the fast-acting product gives you a bit extra at times when you would have smoked. 

Again, all of these quitting products are highly effective especially if you use them with calls to the Quitline. If you prefer you can request a Quitline callback. 

If you are using NRT but still have strong withdrawal symptoms, take a look at how you use them. With mouth spray, gum, lozenge and Inhalator, it's good to try to anticipate a craving (rather than waiting for it to hit) and to use them for at least 8 weeks. With mouth spray, some people spray it onto their throat instead of under their tongue or on the inside of their cheek. For a video on how to use each product, go to their individual page: patches, mouth spray, gum, lozenge, inhalator.


Are you getting some good advice?

To succeed at quitting you need to do more than just wear a patch or take medication. You also need to deal with the emotional and habitual elements of your addiction.  

Also, Quitting can feel a bit like losing a friend, so it’s a good idea to get help to deal with that side of quitting too.

Give the Quitline a call or request a callback – they can help you develop new ways for dealing with stress and emotions without smokes. They can call you at key times, over the coming weeks, to make sure your quitting story is a quit-for-good story. 

Here are some other things you can do to help you manage withdrawal symptoms when they strike

  • Keep your brain active: puzzles, chat to friends or family, read a book or magazine, distract yourself
  • Exercise every day – even a short walk can do wonders for your mood
  • Try to limit your worrying – don’t be too hard on yourself
  • Do something nice for another person – this can really help you feel better
  • Practise mindfulness
  • Muscle relaxation and breathing techniques
  • More relaxation tips  
Managing cravings
Staying quit
Triggers
Withdrawal

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