Quit smoking treatments
Quitting smoking can be incredibly difficult, but there are many treatments that can help you do it.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
NRT provides a safe, controlled way of administering nicotine without all the other harmful chemicals contained in cigarettes smoke. It is shown to double your chances of quitting successfully over going cold turkey. NRT is safe to use in pregnancy and is recommended to prevent harm to the unborn baby from smoking.
The nicotine skin patch is designed to deliver a background level of nicotine. Nicotine chewing gum, nasal spray or inhalers deliver it more quickly and can be used when you get a sudden urge for a cigarette. The patches and gums come in different strengths to suit you.
The objective is to stop cigarettes as soon as you start NRT and then reduce the use of NRT over about 8-12 weeks – to gently wean yourself off your dependence on nicotine.
People who smoke cigarettes become addicted to nicotine but it is the other components of cigarette smoke that damage your health.
Nicotine activates an important group of nerve and brain receptors, producing many effects. Smokers say it gives them stress relief, improved mood and the ability to think or concentrate better, and because nicotine is rapidly absorbed from cigarette smoke, it gives instant effects.
The addictiveness of nicotine is as strong as some ‘hard drugs’, it’s just that the immediate effects are less extreme. About four out of every five smokers are addicted to nicotine. Smoking your first cigarette within 30 minutes of getting up in the morning is a sign of a high level of addiction to nicotine.
For regular smokers, the downside is that without nicotine the opposite sensations (withdrawal effects) are experienced. These can start a few hours after the last cigarette and include:
- cravings for a cigarette
- feeling irritable, anxious or depressed
- difficulty concentrating
- difficulty sleeping
- a temporary increase in appetite and weight gain.
Non-nicotine quit treatments
Non-nicotine quit treatments either reduce the negative sensations of nicotine withdrawal – so you do not miss having a cigarette so badly; or block the pleasant sensations of smoking – so having a cigarette is less enjoyable.
- Bupropion (Zyban) – helps reduce intense withdrawal symptoms from nicotine. Available on prescription only.
- Varenicline (Champix) – works by blocking the nicotine receptors in the brain, making cigarettes less pleasurable. Ask your doctor if you are eligible for a fully funded 12-week Champix course.
- Nortriptyline (Norpress) – helps reduce negative nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and stress. Available on prescription only. Cost: $15 for full course, $5 with community service card.
Non-nicotine medications must be prescribed by your doctor. They can be useful, and your doctor will explain how to use them.
Think you can’t afford quit treatment?
Treatment cost $ … … per week
Usual spend on tobacco $ … … per week
Use our smoking cost calculator
When treatment stops you will save all of your weekly spend on tobacco, so even if the treatment costs more than the cigarettes it will not take long to get back the cost of your treatment.
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