Nicotine Patches: A Supportive Tool to Quit Smoking

How to Use Nicotine Patches to Quit Smoking

Many people trying to quit smoking have tried before and have had relapses. Support services are available to help people recommit and succeed.

A free telephone quitline provides coaching and evidence-based cessation medications.

Eight weeks of nicotine patches or gum/lozenges are provided FREE to callers who meet certain medical eligibility requirements after they speak with a quit coach.

How do they work?

Nicotine patches deliver a low, steady dose of nicotine through the skin to reduce cravings. They also help reduce withdrawal symptoms like irritability or anxiety. Unlike e-cigarettes, patches don’t contain carcinogens or other harmful chemicals.

Callers to the quitline can speak with a free coach by phone or online. They’ll get individualized support to help them plan for quitting and handle challenges like relapses and stressors. They can even order free quit medications if they have Medicaid.

For many people, combining long-acting quit medications like patches with short-acting ones like gum or lozenges improves the chances of success. Talk with your doctor about which quit medications are right for you.

Why do they work?

Quitting tobacco and nicotine is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and lung disease. Medications help people quit by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

The most common family of quit medicines are nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) like patches, gum and lozenges. NRTs provide a steady dose of nicotine over 24 hours and can significantly increase your chances of success. Some NRTs are long-acting, while others deliver a quick boost of nicotine when needed for cravings. Many doctors recommend combining two types of quit medicines – a long-acting NRT and a fast-acting medicine like gum or lozenges, for example.

NRT is safe for most adults and may be covered by health insurance if you meet medical eligibility requirements. Call 802Quits for free supplies of preferred brands of NRT delivered directly to your home. Youth get specialized support from a trained coach by phone or online.

How do they help?

A person trying to quit smoking or vaping needs support. Quitline coaches are trained to help people with proven quit strategies that have been shown to work in large scientific studies. The coaches also can connect callers to free quit medicines, like patches and gum or lozenges.

Most quit lines are available to people with any health insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid. In addition to providing counseling and quit medicines, some state quitlines have special programs for different populations. For example, the American Indian Quit Line provides culturally tailored coaching for the community, and the Asian Smokers’ Quitline has a 1-855-DEJELO-YA number.

Medications can double your chances of quitting, compared to going cold turkey. Combining long-acting patches with faster-acting nicotine replacement therapies (gum or lozenges) increases the chance of success even more. Using both patches and other quit medications at the same time can also increase your odds of quitting, and you can buy them from most pharmacies without a prescription.

How do they help you quit?

A patch delivers a low, steady dose of nicotine to your body. This can help reduce cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms, such as feeling anxious or irritable.

A combination of long-acting patches and short-acting quit medicines like gum or lozenges is recommended for improved chances of success. Talk to your doctor about which medicines are right for you.

Many states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico have free quitline services. Medicaid, Medicare and some private health plans also cover quit-smoking treatments delivered by a healthcare provider.

1-800-QUIT-NOW offers free and confidential quit coaching by telephone, web or text, and connects eligible callers with free quit medicines (patches, gum or lozenges) sent to their home if they meet medical eligibility requirements. This is Quitting offers free text messaging coaching that’s tailored to your age group and tobacco use, and a free app that helps you set goals and track your progress. It’s available for iOS or Android devices.

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