Print this topic

HealthInfo Aoraki South Canterbury

Medicines that help you quit

Your GP, practice nurse, pharmacist or stop-smoking provider can help you to find what medicines might help you quit smoking. There are two sorts of stop-smoking medicines – those that contain nicotine (called nicotine replacement therapy, or NRT), and those that do not contain nicotine.

Nicotine replacement therapy

Using NRT for eight to 12 weeks can double your chances of quitting. It comes in three forms, and Quitline has videos explaining How to use gum, How to use lozenges, and How to use patches. These all reduce your cravings for a cigarette, without damaging your health. They work by replacing some of the nicotine you usually get from cigarettes or other forms of tobacco.

You can get subsidised products for $5 (or sometimes free) if you are assessed and ask your doctor, nurse, pharmacist or Quitline to provide them for you. Or you can buy unsubsidised products directly from your pharmacy.

Nicotine-free medicines

Other prescription medicines that do not contain nicotine might also help you to quit smoking. The three available in New Zealand are called Champix (varenicline), Zyban (bupropion), and nortriptyline.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: Second-hand smoke

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created July 2016. Last updated January 2019.

Page reference: 287908

Review key: HIBSF-16604