How to stop smoking

Stop smoking treatments

Nicotine replacement therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) comes in lots of different forms and helps you to overcome nicotine cravings. A course usually lasts between 8 and 12 weeks. It’s available on prescription.

Therapies include patches, gum, sprays, lozenges and inhalators – things that look like plastic cigarettes. All these therapies release nicotine into your bloodstream without you needing to smoke.

Stop smoking medications

There are two other medications available on the NHS: varenicline (Champix) and buproprion (Zyban). Both can double your chances of quitting. They can have side effects similar to those you might get if you quit tobacco.


E-cigarettes are becoming a popular way of quitting. There’s some evidence e-cigarettes can help you quit, with similar results to using NRT.

Public Health England said in 2015: “best estimates show e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful to your health than normal cigarettes, and when supported by a smoking cessation service, help most smokers to quit tobacco altogether.”

You can’t yet get e-cigarettes as a stop smoking aid on prescription from the NHS. But stop smoking services will help you to quit if you plan to use e-cigarettes.

For advice on stop smoking treatments speak to your GP, pharmacist or a smoking cessation nurse.

Next: What if I start smoking again? >

Download this information (PDF, 491KB) Order your stop smoking leaflet >

Last medically reviewed: February 2016. Due for review: February 2019

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.