Gum, Patch and Lozenges

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Over-the-counter aids that can reduce nicotine cravings

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While prescription medication and equipment can be highly effective in helping you stop smoking, there’s also a range of over-the-counter aids that can reduce nicotine cravings and help you kick the habit.

If you’re looking to stop smoking and are wondering whether you can rely on off-the-shelf products, or you might need something to be prescribed - see a doctor online now.

Over-the-counter aids to quit smoking

There’s three main kinds of nicotine replacement therapy products that you can buy without having them prescribed by a doctor.

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Nicotine gum

Nicotine gum

One of the most popular non-prescription aids to stop smoking, nicotine gum is available in strengths between 2-4 milligrams (referring to the amount of nicotine they contain).

Heavier smokers or those with a strong addiction to nicotine are usually best off going for the stronger option.

The nicotine in the gum is released when chewed and for those who’ve recently stopped smoking - it’s recommended to chew around one piece every hour. Once the flavour has gone from the gum, it’s nicotine content will be largely exhausted and you can get rid of it.

As your cravings subside in the weeks after you quit, you can gradually reduce the amount of gum you chew.

Nicotine gum is a popular product, giving you a quick hit of nicotine whenever you need it. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, however, and some people dislike the taste while others don’t feel like it makes a sufficient substitute for cigarettes.

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Nicotine patches

Another popular over-the-counter aid for people trying to quit smoking, nicotine patches are simply attached to the skin, where they release nicotine into the bloodstream.

They typically come in two types - those that can be worn for 24 hours and others that last only 16 hours.

Nicotine patches come in various strengths and it’s usually recommended for those who’ve just quit to use the higher-strength option first then gradually work their way towards the lower strengths.

Patches are a discreet option for those who don’t want to use a visible product or don’t like the taste of gum or lozenges.

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Like gum, lozenges are an oral, over-the-counter aid for quitting smoking. As you suck on them, they’ll dissolve and release their nicotine content.

You can control the release of nicotine by ‘parking’ the lozenge in the side of your mouth and when you need another hit, simply resume sucking.

Lozenges are typically recommended to be used for around 12 weeks. Around one lozenge each hour is recommended for those who’ve just quit and over time, this should be reduced as your cravings get better.

They’re a popular option for those looking to quit, since they’re an easy way to get a quick hit of nicotine and you don’t have to rely on any external equipment like an inhaler.

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Talk to a doctor about ways to quit smoking

If you’re looking to kick your smoking habit and are wondering what the best route for you might be - speak to a doctor online right now.

Our GPs can provide expert advice, discuss your plans to quit and if needed, prescribe effective medication to help you give up once and for all.

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