262275 Factsheet 1

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Methods of giving up
Most people give up smoking by going ‘cold turkey’, that is, stopping without any kind of help. Although physical symptoms can be extreme in the early few days, they fade away within the first two or three weeks. Evidence shows that you’re more likely to stop smoking for good if you get the right support. Here are some support tools that can help you:

NHS Smoking Helpline 0800 169 0 169
The NHS Smoking Helpline is an excellent source of practical advice and support on smoking and giving up. Friendly helpline advisers can also provide details of your local NHS Stop Smoking Service, and send you information packs. Lines are open daily from 7am to 11pm, with specialist advisers available from 10am to 11pm. Call 0800 169 0 169. If you would like specialist advice about smoking and pregnancy, call the NHS Pregnancy Smoking Helpline on 0800 169 9 169. Lines are open daily from 12 noon to 9pm.

withdrawal symptoms while you get used to not smoking and the dose is gradually reduced. For the best results, follow the instructions carefully and consult your pharmacist or GP if you are unsure about anything. NRT is available in many forms so you can choose which will suit you best. NRT is generally safe for everyone to use and certainly much safer than smoking. However, if you are pregnant or suffering from a heart condition, you should consult your GP first. Patches: Discreet and easy to use, patches work by releasing a steady dose of nicotine into the bloodstream, via the skin. Some patches are intended to be worn during the day only and other ‘24-hour’ patches are designed for 24-hour use in order to help stave off early morning cravings. Gum: Gum allows you to control your nicotine dose. Learning to chew the gum properly is important. The idea is to chew gently until you get the flavour and then ‘park’ the gum in your cheek so that nicotine is absorbed through the lining of the mouth.

NHS Stop Smoking Services
Local NHS Stop Smoking Services offer free, specialist advice tailored to your individual needs. Most services offer both group sessions and one-to-one support and can help you get nicotine gum and patches on prescription.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
Now available on prescription, NRT is clinically proven to be twice as effective as the cold turkey method. NRT eases

For details of your local NHS Stop Smoking Service, call 0800 169 0 169, visit or text GIVE UP with your full postcode to 88088.


Don’t give up giving up.


Nasal spray: This is the strongest form of NRT and is a small bottle of nicotine solution, which is sprayed directly into the nose. Absorbed faster than any other kind of NRT, this can help heavier smokers, especially where other forms of NRT have failed. Microtab: The microtab is a small white tablet which you put underneath your tongue and leave. It works by being absorbed into the lining of the mouth. Lozenge: Is like a sweet that you suck slowly. It gives you nicotine in a similar way to the microtab. Inhalator: A plastic device shaped like a cigarette with a nicotine cartridge fitted into it. Sucking on the mouthpiece releases nicotine vapour, which gets absorbed through your mouth and throat. Inhalators are useful for people who miss the hand-to-mouth action of smoking.

Early findings show it to be highly effective, but for maximum effect it should be used as part of an overall giving up smoking plan.

Acupuncture involves needles being inserted into key pressure points on various parts of the body. The process is not painful and patients are then left to relax for half an hour or so. The needles are then removed except for two tiny ones which remain in your ear. When a craving comes on, you touch your earlobe and the craving is supposed to subside. There are no clinical tests to prove the effectiveness of acupuncture in helping people give up, but some smokers have found it helps them.

Although nicotine is a physically addictive drug, smoking also has many psychological associations. Hypnotherapy tries to alter the subconscious mind’s dependence on smoking as a habit. There are no clinical tests to prove the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in helping people give up, but some smokers have found it helps them.

Zyban (buproprion)
Zyban is one of the newest drugs to the market and is available on prescription. It works by suppressing the part of the brain that gives the smoker a nicotine buzz when smoking a cigarette. The smoker starts taking Zyban before giving up, and the drug puts them off cigarettes because they no longer get the ‘hit’. It reduces the cravings as well as the usual withdrawal symptoms of anxiety, sweating and irritability. Some users of Zyban have reported unpleasant side effects such as nausea, headaches, a dry mouth and blurred vision. Zyban is not recommended if you are pregnant or breast-feeding or have a history of epilepsy, liver disease or an eating disorder.

Laser treatment
This is a new treatment developed by a former smoker, which uses a painless, low-powered laser to stimulate energy points on the body. These in turn stimulate production of endorphins – the body’s natural pain relief chemicals – and, theoretically, relieve nicotine cravings. There are no clinical tests to prove the effectiveness of laser treatment in helping people give up.


Don’t give up giving up.

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