Find the right stop smoking aid or nicotine replacement therapy

The nicotine in cigarettes is addictive, so when you stop smoking your body misses it. This is called withdrawal, and it's part of what gives you cravings when you stop smoking.

You can use nicotine replacements - like gum and patches - to stop the cravings. There’s also a medicine you can take called Champix that switches off the cravings.

Using one of these products makes it much more likely that you’ll stop smoking for good.

Which stop smoking aid should you use?

There’s lots of products on offer, and each has different advantages and disadvantages. The right one for you depends on your smoking habits and preferences. We’ve listed all the options and their pros and cons below to help you choose.

You can use more than one product at a time. For example, some people use nicotine patches and an inhalator. The patches give them a slow release of nicotine, and the inhalator gives them something to do with their hands.

Stop smoking aids explained

Find out the pros and cons of each product

Nicotine patches

Pros

  • Easy to use - just stick a patch on and forget about it
  • Discreet - you can hide it away under your clothes
  • 24 hour version helps with early morning cravings - great if you smoke as soon as you wake up
  • You can use them with other products
  • Available on prescription

Cons

  • Some people get skin irritation
  • Some people find the 24 hour version affects their sleep

Nicotine gum

Pros

  • Good for sudden cravings
  • You can use it throughout the day - every 1-2 hours to start off with
  • Chewing can distract you from smoking
  • Chewing can help you avoid snacking if that’s a problem for you when you do not smoke
  • You can use it with other products
  • Available on prescription

Cons

  • Some people do not like keeping it in their mouth - and you have to do this to get the full benefit
  • Some people do not like the taste
  • If you have problems with your teeth or mouth it might not be right for you
  • It might irritate your mouth

Nicotine lozenges

Pros

  • Good for sudden cravings
  • You can use them throughout the day - every 1-2 hours to start off with
  • No need to chew
  • Discreet - you can use them anywhere
  • You can use them with other products
  • Available on prescription

Cons

  • Some people do not like the taste
  • They might irritate your mouth or cause heartburn

Mini lozenges (minis)

Pros

  • Good for sudden cravings
  • You can use them throughout the day - every 1-2 hours to start off with
  • No need to chew
  • Discreet - you can use them anywhere
  • Dissolve faster than lozenges
  • You can use them with other products

Cons

  • Some people do not like the taste
  • They might irritate your mouth or cause heartburn

Nicotine inhalator

Pros

  • Works fast to help your cravings
  • You can use it every time you get a strong craving
  • It gives you something to do with your hands if you miss the ‘hand to mouth’ action of smoking
  • You can use it with other products
  • You can use it inside, on a bus, train or plane, etc
  • Available on prescription

Cons

  • Not very discreet
  • Some people get side effects like dizziness or nausea
  • Might not be right for you if you have asthma or another breathing problem

Nicotine mouth spray

Pros

  • Works faster than anything else to ease cravings
  • Gives you a nicotine ‘rush’ like you’d get from a cigarette
  • You can use it every time you get a strong craving
  • You can use it with other products
  • You can use it inside, on a bus, train or plane, etc
  • Available on prescription

Cons

  • Some people find it irritates their throat and/or mouth

E-cigarette

Pros

  • 95% safer than smoking a cigarette.
  • Gives you something to do with your hands if you miss the ‘hand to mouth’ action of smoking

Cons

  • Not available on prescription
  • Some people find it irritates their throat
  • You can’t use it everywhere you go - it’s not allowed on public transport, for example

Champix (varenicline)

Pros

  • Reduces your cravings and withdrawal
  • Reduces the enjoyment if you smoke
  • Discreet
  • Available on prescription

Cons

  • You cannot take it if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You cannot take it if you have some mental health problems
  • You cannot take it if you’re under 18