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Treatments to help you stop smoking

The main reason people smoke is because they're addicted to nicotine. This is a main ingredient in tobacco products.

Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT)

NRT are medications that provide a low level of nicotine without the poisonous chemicals found in tobacco smoke. These include tar and carbon monoxide. Nicotine on its own is safe.

You use NRT to help reduce the withdrawal effects of stopping smoking and cravings to smoke. You'd usually use it for a course of 8-12 weeks. There are several types of NRT available:

  • Patches
  • Chewing gum
  • Inhalators (which look like plastic cigarettes)
  • Tablets and lozenges
  • Nasal and mouth sprays

There's good evidence to show that using a combination of these products increases your chances of stopping smoking. Usually this would be patches in combination with one of the other options.

The best treatment for you will depend on:

  • Your age
  • Personal preference
  • Whether you're pregnant or breastfeeding
  • If you have any pre-existing medical conditions

Your GP or a SmokeFree Norfolk stop smoking consultant can suggest the best options for you.

Non-pregnant smokers with high tobacco dependency are most likely to benefit from NRT or other medications.  

Pregnancy and NRT

If you're pregnant and a smoker and not able to quit without support, you can use NRT to help you quit.

It's considered that NRT is safe for use in pregnancy. Speak with your GP or local Stop Smoking Service to discuss the best NRT option for you. NRT is free for people who are pregnant.

The NHS also has further advice for quitting smoking in pregnancy

If you haven't already, take our smoking quiz to find out your level of tobacco dependence.

E-cigarettes (vapes)

An e-cigarette (vape) is an electronic device that can deliver nicotine in a vapour. Some people find e-cigarettes are a helpful way to stop smoking tobacco.

You must be aged 18 or over to use them.

Find out more about e-cigarettes and vaping from Smokefree Norfolk.

They're not risk-free, but they're considered to be at least 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco.

If you're pregnant, you may plan to stop smoking using an e-cigarette. This is far safer for you and your baby than continuing to smoke.

You can also carry on using an e-cigarette if you're breastfeeding to help you stay smoke-free. SmokeFree Norfolk has more information about NRT and e-cigarettes.

What's next

Learn about how you can plan rewards to help you keep on track to quitting smoking.

Not sure about whether you'd like to quit smoking? See What your future might look like to help you decide.

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