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HealthInfo 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. There are two types of medicines to help you stop smoking – those that contain nicotine (called nicotine replacement therapy, or NRT), and those that don't 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.

NRT products are free if you are registered with the local stop-smoking provider Te Hā – Waitaha Stop Smoking Canterbury. You can get subsidised products for $5 through your doctor, nurse, pharmacist or Quitline. Or you can buy unsubsidised products directly from your pharmacy or supermarket.

Nicotine-free medicines

Other medicines that don't contain nicotine might also help you to quit smoking. The three subsidised products available in New Zealand are Champix (varenicline), Zyban (bupropion), and nortriptyline. You can get these on prescription.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed March 2017. Last updated January 2019.

Page reference: 159545

Review key: HIBSF-16604