Cigarettes contain a substance called nicotine, which is an addictive chemical, so smoking regularly over a period of time means your body becomes dependent on it. When you stop smoking, you can experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms, which include things like headaches, cravings, sleeplessness and irritability.
There are three main types of Stop Smoking medications which you can take to help you quit: Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), varenicline (Champix®) and bupropion (Zyban®).
Nicotine Replacement Therapies include patches, gum, lozenges, inhalators and nasal sprays - follow the links on the right to learn more about the different types of medication which will help support your quit attempt. Nicotine in cigarettes is highly addictive, so NRT stops or reduces the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal by giving you some of the nicotine you would have received from a cigarette, but without all the other 4000 harmful substances (such as tar and cyanide) which are also in cigarettes.
There are a number of different NRT options, and some people use a combination of products to help them quit. All licensed NRT products are effective treatments to help you quit, and many of them are available to buy on the high street. However, your local Stop Smoking Service will help you decide which NRT product is most appropriate for you and if you receive support from your Stop Smoking Service whilst taking medication, your quit attempt is more likely to be successful.
The cost of any stop smoking medication will vary depending on the one you choose. However, NRT is available on prescription from Help2Quit (call 0345 6789 025), and if you don’t pay for your prescriptions then your medication will be free of charge.
Varenicline and bupropion tablets are the other types of medication you can take to help support your quit attempt. These tablets work in different ways to help reduce the cravings for a cigarette and are only available on prescription.
Medication alone won’t make you stop smoking though – you need to be motivated to try to quit and determined to succeed.
If you would like further information, please consult the 'helpful links' section on this page.
It's the 4,500 chemicals in cigarettes which cause the damage to your health, not the nicotine
Nicotine withdrawal symptoms can be controlled with medication
Using more than one NRT product often increases the likelihood of a successful quit attempt
NRT is available on prescription so doesn't have to be too expensive
NRT reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms but it does not make them go away completely