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Comparing Nicotine Replacement Methods

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Topic Overview

Nicotine replacement therapies are helpful for people who quit smoking. They are available in several forms, such as patches, gum, lozenges, and inhalers.

All forms of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) work equally well. But talk with your doctor about what products might be best for you and what dosage might be best for you.

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Overview

Note: Separate PDQ summaries on Lung Cancer Screening; Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment; Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment; and Cigarette Smoking: Health Risks and How to Quit are also available. Who is at Risk? Lung cancer risk is largely a function of older age combined with extensive cigarette smoking history. Lung cancer is more common in men than women and in those of lower socioeconomic status. Patterns of lung cancer according to demographic characteristics tend to be strongly...

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All forms of NRT have side effects. But most side effects go away after the first week or so.

  • The patch is easy to use, because:
    • You put it on once a day and forget it.
    • You do not have to avoid certain beverages.
    • The patch is hidden on your body, so no one will know it's there.
  • Gum, lozenges, or the inhaler can be a good choice, because:
    • They can get nicotine into your system quickly if you feel stressed or are having strong cravings.
    • They can replace the feel of a cigarette in your mouth.
    • You can use these whenever you need them as long as you do not go over your recommended daily dose.
    • You can use them if you need something more while you are using the patch or taking quit-smoking medicines.

For most people, the side effects from nicotine replacement products are mild and only bother them for the first week or two.

People who smoke heavily and choose the patch, lozenge, or gum are more successful using the strongest forms of the product (gum or lozenge with 4 mg of nicotine, or patches with 21 mg or more nicotine in each patch).

Experts recommend combining the patch and another nicotine product. Talk to your doctor about this option.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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