One of the reasons quitting commercial tobacco is so difficult is because nicotine is highly addictive. When you quit commercial tobacco, it is normal for your body to go through withdrawal symptoms that make you feel tense, anxious, stressed or sad. These symptoms are normal and temporary, but they can still be uncomfortable.
There are several quit medications available to help manage withdrawal. Some may be available at no cost through the American Indian Commercial Tobacco Program (AICTP). Not everyone chooses to use quit medications, but research shows they can double or triple your chances of quitting for good.
Most people find better success with quitting by combining medications, such as the nicotine patch paired with nicotine gum or nicotine lozenges. Your AICTP Coach will help you understand your options. It's also important to speak with your doctor or health care provider before your quit date to decide what is best for you.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) works by replacing the nicotine you were getting from your commercial tobacco products, such as cigarettes or vaping devices, with a pure form of medical nicotine that is much safer than commercial tobacco. Over time, you will reduce the amount of nicotine you get from the medication. NRT is helpful because it reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms and helps prevent slips or returning to commercial tobacco use.
A nicotine patch is placed on your skin and slowly releases nicotine into your bloodstream. Nicotine patches maintain a steady level of nicotine in your body.
As you chew nicotine gum and place it against your cheek, nicotine is released and absorbed through the lining of your mouth. Nicotine gum should be used on a schedule such as one piece every one to two hours.
The nicotine lozenge is small and releases nicotine as it slowly dissolves against your cheek. Nicotine lozenges should be used on a schedule such as one lozenge every one to two hours.
Nicotine Nasal Spray (prescription only)
The nicotine nasal spray delivers nicotine into your bloodstream. Nicotine nasal spray can irritate the lining of the nose and upper airways and cause sneezing. The sneezing lessens with use, but this medicine is not recommended for people with asthma or nasal and sinus problems.
Nicotine Inhaler (prescription only)
The nicotine inhaler is a small device you hold in your hand and inhale. As you inhale, nicotine is released into your blood stream. This type of NRT may be helpful for people who want to keep their hands busy.
Some people benefit from using quit medications that do not contain nicotine. Options available include:
Varenicline is a prescription medicine used to help people quit commercial tobacco. It works by lessening withdrawal symptoms and blocks the enjoyable effects of smoking cigarettes. It is a tablet taken by mouth once or twice a day.
Bupropion SR (Zyban®, Wellbutrin SR®)
Bupropion SR is a prescription medicine used to help people quit commercial tobacco. It works by lessening your desire to smoke as well as the symptoms of depression or sadness that can come with quitting smoking. It is a tablet taken by mouth once or twice a day.
Most people find better success with quitting by combining medications such as the nicotine patch paired with nicotine gum or nicotine lozenges. Your AICTP Coach will help you understand your options. It's also important to speak with your doctor or health care provider before your quit date to decide what is best for you.