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Medications Can Help

  • Do you usually smoke your first cigarette within a half-hour after you wake up?
  • Do you find it hard not to smoke where smoking isn't allowed? (At the library, movie theater or doctor's office, for example?)
  • Do you smoke 10 or more cigarettes a day?
  • Do you smoke more during the morning than during the rest of the day?
  • Do you smoke even when you're sick?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you are addicted to nicotine.

Most smokers benefit from nicotine replacement to help curb cravings. Furthermore, studies show that people who use nicotine replacement are more successful in quitting smoking than those who don’t use nicotine.

Your Harvard Vanguard clinician is available to provide you with information on medications and prescriptions. If you and your Massachusetts Smokers Helpline counselor decide that a prescription medicine is the right plan for you, please contact your clinician for a prescription prior to your quit date.

Why replace one source of nicotine with another?

In addition to the nicotine, there are more than 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke. Some of these chemicals cause cancer and are toxic to your body. By using nicotine replacement you will eliminate the inhalation of those harmful chemicals, but still get the nicotine that your body craves.

Does it work?

There is strong evidence that withdrawal symptoms are relieved by nicotine replacement and that it approximately doubles long-term quit rates.

What medications are available?

Over-the-counter nicotine replacement products include patches, gum and lozenges, while nasal spray and inhalers require a prescription. Non-nicotine prescriptions such as Zyban®, Wellbutrin®, and Chantix® available by prescription, are also sometimes used to assist you in quitting.