Stop smoking aids

Pharmacological Therapies

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

Most NRT can be purchased from pharmacies, however NRT is available free on prescription to people wanting to make a quit attempt and/or temporary withdrawal. It works by releasing nicotine steadily into your bloodstream at much lower levels than in a cigarette, without the tar, carbon monoxide and other poisonous chemicals present in tobacco smoke.

NRT stops, or reduces, the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.  This helps you to stop smoking, but without having unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.  NRT does not 'make' you stop smoking.  You still need determination to succeed in breaking the smoking habit.

NRT that is currently licensed for use comes in different forms including;

  • Patches 16/24 hour
  • Gum
  • Inhalator
  • Microtab (sub-lingual)
  • Nicotine oral film
  • Lozenges
  • Nasal Spray
  • Mouth Spray
  • Nicotine mini lozenges

2 Non – Nicotine medications are available on the NHS to help you stop smoking

  • Zyban ( Bupropion) (contra-indications; under 18s, pregnancy)
  • Champix contraindications (Varenicline) (under 18s, pregnancy)

More than one form of NRT can be used together.   If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, nurse/midwife about NRT. 

Care must also be taken to avoid adverse medication interactions with some psychiatric medications.

NRT /stop smoking medication is usually prescribed for up to 8 - 12 weeks, however can be prescribed for longer if there is evidence for the need.

The Northern Trust does not currently recommend e-cigarettes as an aid to stopping smoking.  This is in line with National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) due to their concerns over safety and quality of the e-cigarettes.  This may change in the future as new evidence emerges.

For more information on Pharmacological therapies please visit or contact Smoking Cessation Nurse on 028 2563 5575

Page last updated:17 February 2016