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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Medicines that help you quit

Your GP, practice nurse, pharmacist or stop-smoking service can help you 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 do not contain nicotine.

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

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're registered with the local stop-smoking provider Te Hā – Waitaha Smokefree Support. You can get subsidised products for $5 per product 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 do not contain nicotine might also help you quit smoking.

The three subsidised products available in New Zealand are varenicline (Champix), bupropion (Zyban) and nortriptyline (Norpress). You can get these on prescription.

You can get a free GP consultation to access varenicline through Te Hā – Waitaha Smokefree Support.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed May 2021.

Page reference: 159545

Review key: HIBSF-16604