Nicotine Replacement Therapy and Varenicline

We know that stopping smoking isn’t easy and many people have several quit attempts before they stay stopped. However, our specially trained advisors can recommend and organise a medication for free which can help you manage your withdrawal symptoms from tobacco and double your chances of stopping successfully. This, along with our intensive support means you are 4 times more likely to quit!


Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

  • NRT reduces the craving for cigarettes by giving you a lower dose of nicotine, which is gradually reduced, usually over a period of 12 weeks.
  • NRT is safer than smoking as it doesn't contain the other 4,000 harmful chemicals in every cigarette.
  • NRT provides nicotine in a slow steady dose unlike cigarettes which give you peaks in nicotine followed by dips, which make it very addictive.
  • NRT comes in various forms, including patches, gum, mini-lozenges, nasal sprays and inhalators, and are available free from community pharmacies when you receive support from them. To find a pharmacy near you please click here.
    You can also receive free NRT by obtaining a prescription through your local stop smoking service (Contact Details here)
  • For heavy smokers, a combination of long acting product (patches), alongside a short acting product (mini-lozenges, gum and inhalator) can be used to help manage withdrawal symptoms more effectively.
  • Young people and pregnant women may be able to use NRT but your local stop smoking advisor will be able to give you advice on this.



Varenicline (Champix)

Is a drug which does not contain nicotine. It aims to reduce the desire for nicotine and can make smoking feel unpleasant. It is only available on prescription which can be arranged through your local Stop Smoking Service. Your local advisor will carry out a health checklist to make sure varenicline is suitable for you. A course of varenicline usually lasts 12 weeks and is not normally recommended unless you have used NRT in the past without success. This is because it can have more side effects than NRT.

Varenicline is also not suitable for people under 18, those who are actively trying to conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding.


Last Reviewed: 16/09/2014