Nicotine patches, gum and lozenges

Using gum, patches and lozenges can double your chances of quitting. After signing up through Quitline you can get these for about $5 for each product, these would normally cost over $200. This page is here to help you decide whether you'd like to use patches, gum and lozenges to help kick the smoking habit.

Looking for advice in Maori, Samoan or Tongan? Click through to our resources page to see our flyers in these languages.

 

About patches, gum and lozenges

To get stop smoking for good you need to learn how to take care of all parts of the smoking addiction. They are the nicotine part, the emotional part, and the smoking habit. Patches, gum and lozenges work by helping you with your nicotine addiction, this is what is in cigarettes. The nicotine is not the poisonous part, it is the addictive part, it is actually the other 4,000 chemicals in tobacco that damage your health. Patches, gum and lozenges are ways of controlling your nicotine addiction and reduce your nicotine withdrawal symptoms while you take care of the other two parts of the addiction, the emotional addiction and the habit of smoking. Using patches, gum and lozenges is much safer than smoking - serious side effects are uncommon.

You might decide to use patches, gum or lozenges because you’ve used other ways to stop craving cigarettes like using the 4Ds but they didn’t work. Or you might want to take some because you know you need time to deal with the habit and emotional side of the addiction, it’s up to you. Remember patches, gum and lozenges won’t cure you. You need to find a cure within yourself by taking care of the 3 parts of an addiction.

Some medical conditions require specialist advice on using nicotine patches, gum and lozenges. If any of the following applies to you, please call the Quitline:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You are a diabetic on insulin
  • You are taking medication
  • You weigh less than 45 kilos (7 stone)
  • You have had a heart attack, stroke or severe angina in the last two weeks.

Otherwise, you can order subsidised nicotine patches, gum and lozenges online. An 8 week supply of one of these products costs around $5. Without the subsidy an 8 week supply of these products could cost you over $200. You can order them through your member page. Please note, only those registered with Quitline can order NRT on this website. Remember that you need to sign-up and then order patches gum and lozenges, this does not happen automatically.

How do you use patches, gum and lozenges correctly?

When you get a craving, try doing the 4Ds to help get your mind off it. If this doesn’t work, use a gum or lozenge. Sometimes you'll find it's easier to take the lozenge or gum 20 minutes before you know the time when you would usually smoke, this is effective for people who want to concentrate on the emotional side of their addiction before working on their nicotine addiction. A way to cope with emotional triggers is to fill out the Tear-out Diary in The Quit Book - this is a free resource sent to everyone who signs up with Quitline. You can also use the QuitCoach tool which will outline what your level of addiction is and give advice based on answers to your questions.

Watch these videos to find out and scroll down to read instructions with side-effects. These videos tell you more about the products and show you how to use them correctly. 

Looking for advice in Maori, Samoan or Tongan? Click through to our resources page to see our flyers in these languages.

How to use gum

  • Once you start using gum, do not smoke.
  • The gum shouldn’t be chewed like normal gum or you might get hiccups or a sore stomach and the gum won’t work properly to help your cravings.
  •  Instead, bite down 1-2 times to release the hot, peppery taste and then ‘park’ it between your gums and cheek to release the nicotine. Some people don’t like the taste at first, but you do get used to it.
  • Repeat this 5-6 times over a 30 minute period.
  • Do not drink when using the gum, or for up to 15 minutes afterwards because you can also get a sore stomach and hiccups this way. The gum also won’t work properly help your cravings.
  • Most people use 8-12 pieces in a 24 hour period. If you need more you can use up to 25 pieces of 2mg gum and 15 pieces of 4mg gum within a 24 hour period.
  • Throw the gum away after 30 minutes, safely out of the reach of children and pets.

 

 

How to use lozenges

  • Once you start using lozenges, do not smoke.
  • The lozenge shouldn’t be sucked like a normal lozenge or the nicotine won’t work properly and you will get hiccups or a sore stomach.
  •  Instead, suck enough to release the hot, peppery flavour and then ‘park’ it between your gums and cheek to release the nicotine. Some people don’t like the taste at first, but you do get used to it.
  • Repeat this 5-6 times over a 30 minute period.
  • Do not drink when using the lozenge, or for up to 15 minutes afterwards because you can also get a sore stomach and hiccups this way. The lozenge also won’t work properly help your cravings.
  • Most people use 8-12 pieces in a 24 hour period.
  • Throw the lozenge away after 30 minutes, safely out of the reach of children and pets.

 

 

How to use patches

  • Once you start using patches, do not smoke.
  • Use a new patch, and a new area of skin, each day and leave the patch on for 24 hours. Don't remove or reapply the patch.
  • Press firmly in place with your palm and hold for 20 seconds. If patches fail to stick properly, talk to Quitline 0800 778 778. 
  • Don't cut patches.
  • Place on smooth, clean, dry skin (where no perfumes or lotions have been applied)
  • Wash your hands after handling the patch.
  • If you have vivid dreams when sleeping, remove the patch before you go to bed but apply a new one first thing in the morning.
  • Throw the patch away safely out of the reach of children and pets.

 

 

Side effects for patches, gum and lozenges

Patches, gum and lozenges are very safe, and serious side effects are rare.

Sometimes patches can cause a slight reddening and itching of the skin. This is less likely if you change the area you apply the patch to on a daily basis. Also remember to apply the patch to clean, dry skin that does not have lotion or perfume on it. If the patch comes off try medical tape or call Quitline for an overpatch 0800 778 778.

Gum and lozenges might give you a slightly irritated mouth and throat and more saliva (spit) than usual. If you chew or suck the gum or lozenges too often, you might swallow too much nicotine and this can cause wind, hiccups and indigestion.

If you experience any side effects, call Quitline on 0800 778 778 or see your pharmacist.

Weaning off/Cutting down on nicotine

If you haven't been smoking during the first 8-weeks congratulations! You are now smokefree and you may want to try stopping patches/gum/lozenges as well. Please note that we don't recommend weaning down even though it may say to wean down on the box of patches/gum/lozenges. Research shows that it is best to just stop using patches/gum/lozenges altogether or order some more of the same dose rather than cut down.

There are three parts of an addiction and the patches/gum/lozenges help you control the nicotine part of an addiction. If you want to stop relying on nicotine it’s best to stop taking gum/patches/lozenges altogether and be prepared for any withdrawal symptoms you may have. To find out more about the 3 parts of an addiction, click here.  If you have any questions, or if you really think you would like to wean off by using a lower dose please call us on 0800 778 778.

A way to cope with the emotion and habit associated with smoking is to fill out the Tear-out Diary in The Quit Book - this is a free resource sent to everyone who signs up with Quitline.