Treatments to help you quit

There are treatments available to help you quit. These are designed to make quitting more comfortable and to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal.

Using the products below as directed can double your chances of quitting. Many of the treatments listed below are available free to medical card holders.

Nicotine replacement therapies

Nicotine-replacement therapy replaces a small amount of the nicotine that your body misses when you quit. It's designed to replace just enough nicotine to ease your cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine replacement therapy can take various forms. Ask your pharmacist for advice on the therapy that suits you best.

Nicotine gum

Nicotine gum replaces some of the nicotine previously obtained from smoking but at lower levels. These levels are just enough to help relieve withdrawal symptoms and to help concentrate breaking the habit. There are two strengths of gum: 4mg for the heavier smoker and 2mg for those who smoke less. It is important to use the correct strength of gum and the correct technique.

Patch

There are various brands of patch available, some of which are of varying strengths to help you gradually reduce your dependency on nicotine. Talk to your pharmacist for information on the patch and on which one you should use.

Inhaler

This consists of a plastic holder and a cartridge, which contains nicotine. You can draw on it like a cigarette and nicotine is absorbed through the lining of your mouth. The inhaler is the most suitable for people smoking 20 cigarettes or fewer per day.

Lozenge

The lozenge should be sucked until the taste becomes strong and is then lodged between the cheek and gum of the mouth. When the taste fades it should be sucked again and the process repeated until the lozenge dissolves, in 20 to 30 minutes. Always read the label for clear instructions.

Mouth spray

This gives an instant release mouth spray that gets to work on cravings in 60 seconds. The fresh tasting minty spray provides small doses of therapeutic nicotine to help manage the nicotine withdrawal cravings when quitting. Always read the label for clear instructions.

It's important that you don't smoke when using nicotine replacement therapies.

Non-nicotine medication

Champix

Champix is a pill (non-nicotine) designed to help you stop smoking; it's available on prescription from your GP.

Zyban

Zyban is another non-nicotine smoking-cessation drug that is only available on prescription from your GP.

Further information

For information and support on how to quit smoking, call the HSE Quit Team on 1800 201 203.