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What is the best way to quit smoking?

As part of a weekly series, in association with LloydsPharmacy, Colin Dougall from LloydsPharmacy in Glasgow answers your common medicine queries…

Colin Dougall, from LloydsPharmacy in Glasgow, gives expert advice

Q: Are nicotine patches, gum or an inhaler the best way to quit smoking?

All types of nicotine replacement therapy – whether patches, gum, inhalers, strips that dissolve in the mouth or lozenges – do the same thing: supply nicotine to the body to reduce the craving for a cigarette.

There’s little to separate them in terms of effectiveness, so the best option is whatever works for you.

Nicotine replacement therapy should be used for ten to 12 weeks as part of a smoking cessation programme, which may include motivational counselling. Nicotine products come in different strengths, and you lower the dose as the cravings ease. 

Q: Is it safe to use nicotine patches or gum and e-cigarettes together? 

There are two types of e-cigarettes: those that contain nicotine and those that don’t. Those with no nicotine can be used with patches or gum, and may help. But e-cigarettes containing nicotine should not be used with patches or gum as, together, they would give the body too much nicotine.

That can cause nausea, a racing heart, sweating and anxiety. As nicotine is highly addictive, it could also make it harder to quit.


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