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NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy)


Nicotine is a stimulant drug found in cigarettes.  Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is a safe and effective treatment used to help people quit smoking. Research has shown that NRT can successfully increase your chances of quitting by 50-70% compared to trying to quit on your own. NRT works by reducing the physical cravings that occur from withdrawing from cigarettes.  


It replaces the nicotine that would be obtained from the cigarette in a different form at a lower dose. The nicotine itself is not toxic to our body; rather it is the tar and other carcinogens in the cigarette that are harmful. Through the use of NRT, smokers are able to focus less on their physical addiction, and focus more on breaking their psychological habit and routine.      


Treatment options  

NRT is available in a variety of different forms including chewing gum, patches, inhalers, lozenges and mouth sprays. Nicotine patches are also available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and may be prescribed by your doctor. For heavy smokers, a combination of therapies may be required. It is best to discuss with your health care provider which option is best for you.  



Many smokers end treatment prematurely because they believe that NRT may be addictive or unsafe. Research has shown that nicotine has a low abuse potential and NRT has a strong safety record. It is important to follow the directions carefully to ensure the best chance of successfully quitting smoking. It is advisable to use NRT for at least 8 weeks to allow your body to break the habit.  


Often, when smokers relapse and have a cigarette, they stop using NRT due to fears of concurrent use. It is safe to use a nicotine patch whilst still smoking, and research shows that individuals are less likely to continue smoking if they keep using their patch and continue their full period of treatment.      



The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.