Smoking Cessation Products:
There are a vast array of smoking cessation products available, however, availability differs from country to country.
These products include:
- Transdermal patches (16 and 24-hour in varying strengths.)
- Chewing Gum (varying strengths)
- Lozenges that are dissolved through the mouth lining in much the same way as nicotine in the chewing gum
- Microtabs that are placed under the tongue
- Inhalers (e-cigarettes)
- Zyban (bupropion)... prescription-only
- Chantix(Varenicline)... prescription-only
- Nasal Sprays
Transdermal patches are applied to the skin, usually on the arm, leg or torso and deliver a set amount of nicotine over 16 or 24 hours.
They are available in varying strengths of 5, 7, 10, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 25mg and are designed to usually be a stand-alone quit aid.
They are used in a step-down programme.
They should not be used in excess of the recommended dose as there is a risk of nicotine overdose.
More details on these and the other smoking cessation aids below.
Chewing Gum is available in various flavours and strangths of 1mg, 2mg and 4 mg.
The chewing gum is chewed, placed between the cheek and gum, then the two-step cycle is repeated for a period of 15-30 minutes.
Chewing gum is also designed to be a stand-alone quit aid, though is more 'on-demand' than the patch and does not offer constant levels of nicotine .
Chewing gum can also be used occasionally when it is inappropriate to smoke, or is illegal to do so.
Chewing gum if not used correctly can result in sore throat due to the dose of nicotine being swallowed too quickly and in concentration.
Lozenges are sucked slowly in the same way as one would suck a boiled sweet, thus releasing the nicotine.
Microtabs are placed under the tongue and deliver a dose of nicotine in a short time.
These can be helpful when quitting tobacco, or in situations where it is inconvenient or illegal to smoke.
Inhalers/Vapourisers/'e'cigarettes are personal 'fake' cigarettes that deliver nicotine as the user requires.
These can be used in any situation where smoking is not acceptable, and come in many flavours.
Many say that the e'cigarette is the closest experience to smoking and liken its use to 'smoking without smoking'.
Often e-cigarettes are shaped like a cigarette but take many forms.
Zyban (bupropion) is an anti depressant medication often used as a smoking cessation medication.
Bupropion is reported to decrease the nicotine cravings, thus reducing the desire to smoke.
Bupropion courses take an average of 10 weeks and the intention is to quit smoking (and nicotine use) as early as possible into the course, and optimally within 10 days.
Chantix(Varenicline) works differently than Bupropion as it is a specifically designed smoking cessation medication.
It works on the 'reward centres' in the brain, removing pleasure from the smoking experience.
It is important to mention that Zyban and Chantix are designed to be used without additional smoking cessation medication.
If choosing one of these two options please research carefully as both have probable side-effects that need to be weighed before choosing this avenue of smoking cessation.
As with all medicines, nicotine products may cause side-effects. Common side effects with all products are: headache, nausea and dizziness.
In addition patches can cause skin rashes and irritation and the nasal spray can cause sneezing, sore throat, runny nose and eyes.
Nicotine from lozenges, gums and inhalers may irritate the mouth and throat and cause dryness.
These products can also increase the production of saliva at the start of treatment, and excessive swallowing of nicotine in this saliva can cause hiccups.
For more detailed information on side-effects and interactions, read the leaflet that comes with each product.
Nasal Sprays deliver a quick hit of nicotine and are considered, while not the closest to smoking, the quickest method of ingesting nicotine without smoking.
It is important to remember that smoking cessation products should ideally be used without smoking on top.
The reasons are because;
a) the body's nicotine tolerance can and eventually will be raised;
b) the more nicotine is ingested, the higher risk of nicotine poisoning, a rare but potentially fatal condition.
The nicotine patches are recognised as a stand-alone tobacco smoking quit program.
The step-down program works by reducing the amount of nicotine released into the bloodstream, and are usually more useful for heavier smokers of 10 cigarettes a day or more (or relative in other smoking tobacco, or chewing tobacco.)
The most popular program (UK) is the 21mg, 14mg, 7 mg step-down program.
This is spread over 10 weeks, according to prescription... 4 weeks at 21mg once a day, 4 weeks 14mg and 2 weeks 7mg.
Here are lists of the availability of 5 common nicotine -containing products in 15 European Union countries:
http://www.substance-information-network.org/local_links.php?catid=1&linkid=26 (pages 10 and 11)
... in some Non-EU European countries:
... and in 12 other countries worldwide: