Nicotine replacement therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) releases nicotine into your body to help relieve cravings and withdrawal symptoms. NRT products are available over-the-counter without a prescription.

You must be 18 years of age or older to use NRT. Before you start NRT, it is very important to discuss with your doctor or pharmacist first. Some formats should only be used while totally abstaining from smoking, while others can also be used to gradually reduce the number of cigarettes smoked per day. Your doctor or pharmacist may also recommend more than one NRT option to be used together.

Table 1: NRT options
Format How to use Advantages
Nicotine gum Bite down on the gum until there is a “tingle” or “flavoured” taste, then “park” the gum between your cheek and gum. Wait about 1 minute, then repeat.
  • Satisfies oral cravings
  • Allows you to control how much nicotine you use and when you use it
Nicotine lozenges Place the lozenge in your mouth and let it slowly dissolve. Occasionally move the lozenge from one side of the mouth to the other. Repeat until lozenge is dissolved.
  • Helps manage breakthrough oral cravings
  • Allows you to control how much nicotine you use and when you use it
Nicotine inhaler Hold the inhaler like a cigarette and draw air through the mouthpiece that has been filled with a nicotine cartridge.
  • Satisfies hand-to-mouth ritual
  • Allows you to control how much nicotine you use and when you use it
Nicotine patch Apply the patch to the skin once a day.
  • Discreet, easy-to-use, once-a-day option
  • Delivers a continuous, controlled dose of nicotine into your body
Nicotine mouth spray Spray into open mouth.
  • Provides quick relief of cravings in about 60 seconds (most rapid-acting)
  • Allows you to control how much nicotine you use and when you use it

Like any medication, NRT can cause side effects. Consult the package labelling or your Pharmacist to learn more.


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This information is provided for educational information purposes only. It is not designed or intended to constitute medical advice or to be used for diagnosis or to replace your Doctor. Consult your Pharmacist or Doctor to determine the appropriateness of the information for your specific situation. Articles and Nicotine Dependency Test tool are copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use.