Here are the most common quitting aids. Talk with your doctor if you're interested in using them.
1. Nicotine Patches
- What they are: Look like band-aids. Gives an even flow of nicotine through the skin and into the body.
- Where to get them: At the pharmacy with a doctor's prescription, if they're covered by your insurance. Or over-the-counter at a drugstore, discount store, or grocery store.
- How to use them: Start wearing the patch on the day you quit smoking. For those who smoke 10 cigarettes or less, start with one of the lower strengths. Check the directions for details. Put on a fresh patch each day. The schedule usually lasts 4-12 weeks.
2. Nicotine Gum
- What it is: Gum that releases nicotine into the body through the lining of the mouth.
- Where to get it: At the pharmacy with a doctor's prescription, if it's covered by your insurance. Or over-the-counter at a drugstore, discount store, or grocery store.
- How to use it: Start using the gum on the day you quit smoking. It comes in 2 strengths. If you smoke more than 25 cigarettes a day, start with 4mg. If you smoke 25 cigarettes or less, start with 2mg. Use it on a regular schedule, not just for a craving. Chew a piece until you get a peppery taste. Place it between your gum and cheek until the peppery taste is gone. The schedule usually lasts 4-12 weeks.
- What it is: A prescription drug such as Zyban ® and Chantix®. These medications can help cut withdrawal symptoms. They do not contain nicotine.
- Where to get it: At the pharmacy, with a doctor's prescription.
- How to use it: Begin taking it 1-2 weeks before your quit day. Take the pills as directed. The schedule can last between 8-16 weeks depending on your doctor’s advice. Zyban® can be used together with the nicotine patches or gum. Chantix® is not made to be used with the other quitting aids.
Very important: If you choose to use a quitting aid, don't stop there! Your quitting aid may help with the withdrawal symptoms, but it will also take motivation and planning to beat the habit.