Skip to main content

Nicotine replacement products (patches, lozenges, gum, inhalator, mouth spray) reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, irritability, mood swings and anxiety.

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 Quitline counsellor 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).

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 are available as 1 X 12 week supply each year, consisting of either:

  • 1 x 12 weeks supply of the Nicorette 15mg, 16hr (day only) patch, or
  • 1 x 12 week supply of the Nicabate 21mg, 24hr (day and night) 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 inhaler. 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 GumLozengeMouth 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

It may be recommended if you have had cravings or not succeeded in quitting when using a single nicotine replacement product in the past. 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.