Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products – such as patches, lozenges, gum, inhalator, and mouth spray – are designed to reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, irritability, mood swings and anxiety during a quit attempt. People who use NRT are more likely to quit and stay quit.

Using NRT is always safer than continuing to smoke. NRT does not contain the many dangerous chemicals found in tobacco smoke and allows you to focus on breaking your smoking habits and routines.

NRT products are available at pharmacies and some supermarkets. For more information on how NRT can help you quit smoking, phone the Quitline on 13 7848 or speak to your doctor or a pharmacist. The most effective way to quit is getting support through a service such as Quitline in combination with nicotine replacement therapy or quitting medication.

Nicotine patches

NRT products are available at pharmacies and some supermarkets. For more information on how NRT can help you quit smoking, phone the Quitline on 13 7848 or speak to your doctor or a pharmacist. The most effective way to quit is getting support through a service such as Quitline in combination with nicotine replacement therapy or quitting medication.

 

Government subsidised NRT

Some nicotine replacement products are available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). You can visit your doctor and ask for a prescription for your preferred NRT.

As of February 2022, the following nicotine replacement products are available on the PBS:

  • Nicotinell 21mg, 24hr patch (also available in 14 mg and 7 mg, but not on the PBS)
  • Nicorette 25mg, 16 hr (day only) patch
  • Nicotinell 4mg chewing gum (also available in 2mg strength, but not on the PBS)
  • Nicotinell 4mg lozenge (also available in 2mg strength, but not on the PBS)

    *Please note conditions apply – please discuss with your doctor or call Quitline on 13 4878.

Nicotine patches

Nicotine patches are designed to stick on the skin. They work by releasing a low but consistent dose of nicotine into the bloodstream via the skin. They help reduce withdrawal symptoms such as cravings  making quitting easier and increase the chance of a successful quit attempt.  Patches are best used in combination with an oral NRT product, please see below.

(Oral NRT) Nicotine gum, nicotine lozenge, mouth spray and inhalator

The gum, lozenge, mouth spray, and inhalator all work by replacing some of the nicotine you would normally get  from cigarettes. The nicotine is absorbed through the lining of your mouth. Using these products can help reduce withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, irritability and anxiety.

To release the nicotine:

  • chew the gum slowly until the taste becomes strong (about 1 minute) then stop and rest (or park) the gum against your cheek. When the taste fades, chew a few times until the taste gets strong, then park the gum on the other side of your mouth. Avoid eating or drinking when chewing the gum.
  • allow the lozenge to dissolve, moving it around every so often from one side of the mouth to the other. Do not eat or drink when the lozenge is in your mouth.
  • spray the mouth spray onto the side of your mouth or under your tongue. 
  • take frequent short, shallow puffs on the inhalator.

chew the gum slowly until the taste becomes strong (about 1 minute) then stop and rest (or park) the gum against your cheek. When the taste fades, chew a few times until the taste gets strong, then park the gum on the other side of your mouth. Avoid eating or drinking  when chewing the gum.   

Combination therapy

Combination therapy means using two types of NRT products at the same time. Combining a patch with an oral form of NRT has been shown to increase quit rates by 34-45% compared to using the patch alone. https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2013/may/nicotine-replacement-therapy

Combination therapy is recommended if you have not succeeded in quitting when using a single NRT product and is often recommended for heavy smokers. Talk to the Quitline, your doctor or a pharmacist about using combination therapy.

Proper use

It is important to use NRT correctly – follow the instructions provided with the product. 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. It is recommended that you use them for at least eight weeks.

Our Quitline counsellors can help you to make sure you are using NRT the right way, if you need advice about the products or any support along the way to help you quit, please call Quitline on 137848. Support is tailored to your individual circumstances and preferences.