Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

If you want to quit smoking or vaping but find the nicotine cravings tough to deal with, nicotine replacement therapy can help

Written by spunout


When you quit smoking or vaping, there are plenty of things you can do to make it much easier. You can get rid of all the lighters and ashtrays from your house, avoid certain triggers that would make you want to smoke or vape, and take up exercise and healthy eating. One of the biggest things you can do to make quitting easier is Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT).

NRT is treatment that can reduce or remove the physical symptoms of smoking withdrawal. It is known to greatly increase your chances of quitting successfully. You can chat to your doctor, pharmacist or HSE Quit Team to see if NRT is right for you.

How does NRT work?

NRT works by providing your body with nicotine while you quit smoking. Nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes, rollies, and e-cigarettes (vaping). By providing your body with nicotine, NRT safely reduces cravings and other withdrawal symptoms of quitting.

What does NRT actually involve?

NRT comes in a couple of different forms:

  • Patches
  • Gum
  • Tablets
  • Lozenges
  • Inhaler
  • Mouth spray
  • Oral spray

Nicotine patches

These are patches that you put on your skin for either 16 or 24 hours. They work by giving a steady dose of nicotine into your blood through your skin. They’re perfect for moderately addicted smokers.

Nicotine gum

This helps relieve withdrawal symptoms and also gives you something to do with your mouth instead of smoking. You can get it in different strengths depending on how addicted you are.

Nicotine inhaler

You use these to inhale vapour that contains nicotine. They’re good for replacing the routine and puffing sensation of smoking.

Nicotine lozenges

These are little sweets that contain nicotine. Some people prefer their taste to other forms of NRT. They might irritate your mouth and stomach however.

Mouth spray

You spray this straight into your mouth, helping to relieve some of the symptoms you’ll experience when you quit. It’s used for a least 8-12 weeks.  

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about NRT

Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to instruct you full on how to correctly use NRT. Remember, you’ll need a doctor’s recommendation for NRT if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Are under 18
  • Have had a recent heart attack

How much does it cost?

The cost varies depending on the brand and product you decide to go with. If you have a medical card, it’s available with a doctor’s prescription.

Disclaimer: There is more than one way to quit smoking. You may need to try a few different things to find what is right for you. For advice and support on quitting, visit

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