University Health Service (UHS)
Health Promotion Office
Consider Nicotine Replacement Therapy
For many smokers, an effective quit method will include a combination of emotional support from others, a change in daily habits, and a form of therapy through the use of nicotine substitutes. When smokers try to cut back or quit, the absence of nicotine in their body leads to withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine substitutes treat the very difficult withdrawal symptoms that almost 90% of all smokers say is the reason that they cannot quit smoking. These substitutes reduce the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal during the quit process, allowing the smoker to concentrate on the psychological aspects of quitting smoking.
Nicotine replacement therapy offers several advantages for those trying to quit:
- Nicotine replacement is a cleaner form of nicotine. It avoids the thousands of poisons and tar that are found in cigarette smoke.
- Nicotine replacement delivers a smaller dose of nicotine into the body.
- Nicotine replacement therapy has been proven to double your chances of quitting smoking for good!
Make sure you discuss with your primary care provider which nicotine replacement therapy may best suit your needs. Consider all the options, such as how much you smoke, whether you need oral or hand stimulation, cost, and the overall speed and effectiveness of each method. You may want to check to see if your insurance company covers any of the cost these medications.
There are many forms of nicotine replacement therapy available today. The most common forms are listed below. For a more detailed analysis of the dosage levels, advantages, disadvantages, and costs of each of these types of nicotine replacement therapy, check the chart, Stop Smoking Medications.
- Nicotine Patch: Also known as transdermal nicotine systems, nicotine patches provide a measured dose of nicotine through a patch placed directly on the skin. As the dosage of nicotine is lowered over the course of a few weeks, your body becomes less dependent upon nicotine.
- Nicotine Gum: Nicotine polacrilex, better known as nicotine gum, is a fast-acting form of replacement in which nicotine is absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth.
- Nicotine Lozenge: After several years of testing, the FDA recently approved the first over-the-counter nicotine-containing lozenge that benefits a smoker trying to quit by providing constant oral stimulation in an easy-to-control dose.
- Nicotine Nasal Spray: These sprays deliver nicotine immediately to the bloodstream as it is absorbed through the nose. However, unlike the above therapies, nicotine sprays require a doctor's prescription.
- Nicotine Inhaler: Available by prescription only, the nicotine inhaler is a plastic tube with a nicotine cartridge inside. When you puff on the inhaler, a nicotine vapor is released primarily to the mouth rather than the lungs.
- Oral Medicine: Bupropion, or more commonly marketed as Zyban®, is a prescription antidepressant in an extended-release form that reduces the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. This medicine affects chemicals in the brain that are related to nicotine craving. Zyban® requires a prescription.
Your UHS Primary Care Provider (PCP) can help you quit smoking.
To schedule an appointment with your primary care provider at UHS: Call 275-2662.