Help and Frequently Asked Questions

Help and Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you're thinking about stopping smoking (or have stopped already and haven’t smoked for a while), you’ve probably got some questions.

We’ve compiled some of those which people ask most frequently. But if we haven’t covered whatever you have in mind, feel free to ask our Customer Services team. Or if your query is of a technical nature please email our Technical Help team.




NiQuitin Patches


What strength of NiQuitin (nicotine) Patch should I use and how long should I use them for?

The strength depends on how many cigarettes you smoke a day. If you smoke 10 or more, you should start on Step 1 with the 21 mg patch. Use that for six weeks, before moving to Step 2 with the 14 mg patch for two weeks. Then on to Step 3 with the 7 mg patch for a further two weeks.

If you smoke less than 10 cigarettes a day, you should start on Step 2 with a 14 mg patch. Use that for six weeks, before moving to Step 3 with a 7 mg patch for two weeks.

If you need to use NiQuitin (nicotine) Patches for longer than 6 months seek advice from a healthcare professional.

How does the therapeutic nicotine from the patch get through the skin?

It passes through the outer layer of skin to the blood vessels beneath. The NiQuitin Clear and Classic Patch contain a special membrane that controls the release of nicotine for reliable, steady dosing regardless of skin type.

Can I use more than one NiQuitin (nicotine) Patch at a time?

No. A single patch of the correct strength provides enough nicotine to help reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Can I drink alcohol while using nicotine patches?

Yes - but try to avoid doing so if you usually associate it with smoking.

If I buy NiQuitin Clear or Classic (nicotine) Patches but don't use them for a few months, will it still be effective?

Unopened NiQuitin (nicotine) Patches can be used up to the expiry date shown on the protective pouch. Once the pouch is opened, the patch should be applied immediately since it loses nicotine on exposure to the air.

Can I cut up the patch to receive less therapeutic nicotine?

No. The NiQuitin (nicotine) Patch is designed to gradually release therapeutic nicotine throughout the day, providing just enough to reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms when you quit smoking. Extensive clinical testing has established the appropriate amounts of therapeutic nicotine for each of the three Steps. Cutting patches is therefore not recommended because it may affect delivery of therapeutic nicotine into the blood.

I smoke roll-ups - can I still use NiQuitin (nicotine) Patches?

Yes. The starting strength of a NiQuitin (nicotine) Patch is calculated in the same way as for pre-rolled cigarettes.



NiQuitin Minis Lozenges


What flavours are available?

Mint and Cherry. NiQuitin 4mg Minis Lozenges are only available in mint.

What strength NiQuitin (nicotine) Minis Lozenges should I use?

If you smoke 20 cigarettes or less a day, you should use the NiQuitin 1.5mg Minis Lozenges. If you smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day, use NiQuitin 4mg Minis Lozenges.

How do I use the NiQuitin (nicotine) Minis Lozenges?

In order to get the correct dose of therapeutic nicotine from the Minis Lozenges, you shouldn't chew them or swallow them whole. Simply place one lozenge in your mouth and let it dissolve. Periodically, the lozenge should be moved from one side of your mouth to the other until it’s dissolved completely (approximately 10 minutes).

Can I eat or drink while using NiQuitin (nicotine) Minis Lozenges?

No. Since food and drink can interfere with the nicotine absorption from the lozenge, we recommend you don’t.

Can I drink alcohol while I'm on a treatment course of NiQuitin (nicotine) Minis Lozenges?

Yes, you can, but you shouldn't drink either alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks while you have a lozenge in your mouth. Also, to reduce the risk of a relapse, it’s best to avoid drinking alcohol if you associate it with smoking.

What should I do if I smoke while following a treatment course of NiQuitin (nicotine) Minis Lozenges?

If you just smoked a couple but want to continue your quit attempt then you can. If you’ve gone back to smoking then set a new quit date and try again when you’re ready. Or, if you feel that giving up straightaway is too big a step, you can use the lozenges to help you cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke as a first step before stopping completely.

Can I use more than one NiQuitin (nicotine) Minis Lozenge at a time?

No. Each lozenge should give you the right amount of nicotine to help tackle your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. You should never exceed 15 lozenges per day for either the 1.5mg or 4mg strength lozenge.



NiQuitin Lozenges


What flavours are available?

Original and mint.

What strength NiQuitin (nicotine) Lozenge should I use?

If you smoke your first cigarette of the day within thirty minutes of waking up, you should use the 4 mg Lozenge. If you smoke your first cigarette of the day after you’ve been awake for 30 minutes or more, use NiQuitin 2 mg Lozenges.

For Step 1, you should have a NiQuitin (nicotine) Lozenge every one to two hours. Use at least 9 up to a maximum of 15 lozenges a day. Then, after six weeks, move on to Step 2, and have a lozenge every two to four hours. After nine weeks, you should be down to one NiQuitin (nicotine) Lozenge every four to eight hours.

How do I use the NiQuitin (nicotine) Lozenge?

In order to get the correct dose of therapeutic nicotine from the lozenges, you shouldn't chew them or swallow them whole. Simply place one in your mouth and let it dissolve. Periodically, the lozenge should be moved from one side of your mouth to the other until it’s dissolved completely (approximately 20-30 minutes).

Can I eat or drink while using lozenges?

No. Since food and drink can interfere with the nicotine absorption from the lozenge, we recommend you don’t.

Can I drink alcohol while I'm on a treatment course of NiQuitin (nicotine) Lozenges?

Yes, you can, but you shouldn't drink either alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks while you have a lozenge in your mouth. Also, to reduce the risk of a relapse, it’s best to avoid drinking alcohol if you associate it with smoking.

What should I do if I smoke while following a treatment course of NiQuitin (nicotine) Lozenges?

If you just smoked a couple but want to continue your quit attempt then you can. If you’ve gone back to smoking then set a new quit date and try again when you’re ready. Or, if you feel that giving up straightaway is too big a step, you can use the lozenges to help you cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke as a first step before stopping completely.

Can I use more than one NiQuitin (nicotine) Lozenge at a time?

No. Each lozenge should give you the right amount of nicotine to help tackle your cravings and withdrawal symptoms while the step-down programme slowly weans you off nicotine until you don’t need it anymore. During the first 6 weeks of giving up smoking, try to have one NiQuitin (nicotine) Lozenge every one to two hours (use 9-15/day). Then in weeks 7 to 9, have one lozenge every two to four hours, then every four to eight hours in weeks 10 to 12. You should never exceed 15 lozenges per day for either the 2 mg or 4 mg strength lozenge.



NiQuitin Mint Gum


What strength NiQuitin (nicotine) Gum should I use?

If you have your first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking up, you should use the NiQuitin 4 mg Mint Gum. If you start smoking more than 30 minutes after waking up, use the NiQuitin 2 mg Mint Gum. Chew one piece of NiQuitin (nicotine) Gum when you have the urge to smoke, to a total of between 8 to 12 pieces a day. Gradually reduce your use of gum to just one or two pieces a day until you are nicotine free.

Can I eat or drink while chewing therapeutic NiQuitin (nicotine) Gum?

No. Food and drink may interfere with the nicotine absorption from the gum in your mouth, we recommended you avoid them whilst chewing gum.

Can I drink alcohol while I'm on a treatment course of NiQuitin Gum?

Yes, you can, but you should avoid both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks whilst actually chewing. Also, to cut the risk of a relapse, avoid drinking alcohol if you associate it with smoking.

What should I do if I smoke whilst on a treatment course of NiQuitin Gum?

If you just smoked a couple but want to continue your quit attempt then you can. If you’ve gone back to smoking then set a new quit date and try again when you’re ready. Or, if you feel that giving up straightaway is too big a step, you can use the gum to help you cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke as a first step before stopping completely.

Can I chew more than one piece of NiQuitin (nicotine) Gum at any one time?

No. Each piece of gum gives you the right amount of nicotine to tackle your cravings and withdrawal symptoms while the step-down programme slowly weans you off nicotine until you don’t need it anymore. Chew 8-12 pieces a day (maximum 15). Gradually reduce the number of pieces you use per day until you don’t need it anymore.

What if I use too much NiQuitin (nicotine) Gum?

It's very unlikely that you'll overdose, because generally you get less nicotine from gum than when you were smoking. If you do use too many, the effects would be similar to suddenly smoking more cigarettes than you’re used to. If you did, you may start to feel sick, dizzy and unwell. Stop using the NiQuitin (nicotine) Gum and get immediate medical advice from a doctor or hospital casualty department. If possible, show them the packet or the leaflet within it.

What happens if a child ingests NiQuitin (nicotine) Gum?

Even small quantities of nicotine may be dangerous to a child and could even prove fatal. If you suspect nicotine poisoning in a child, contact your doctor or local hospital immediately. If possible, take the product packaging with you. Be sure to keep NiQuitin (nicotine) Gum and any other quit smoking aids safely out of the reach and sight of children.

Signs and symptoms of an overdose may include headache, sickness, stomach pains and diarrhoea. If a child has used or eaten any of the gum, contact your doctor or nearest hospital casualty department immediately. If possible show them the NiQuitin packet or the leaflet within it.

Can people who smoke roll-ups use NiQuitin Gum?

Yes. As with manufactured cigarettes, you can determine what strength NiQuitin (nicotine) Gum you should use by how long it is before you smoke your first cigarette of the day. If you have one within 30 minutes of waking up, use the 4 mg gum. If it is later than 30 minutes after you wake up, use the lower strength 2 mg gum. If you think you can stop smoking straightaway then you should. However, if you feel this is too big a step, then you may wish to try cutting down the amount of roll-ups you smoke as a first step before stopping completely.



Find out more about NiQuitin (nicotine) Mint Gum

Click here for questions about NiQuitin (nicotine) Patches

Click here for questions about NiQuitin (nicotine) Lozenges

Click here for questions about NiQuitin (nicotine) Minis Lozenges



Therapeutic Nicotine Products


Aren’t therapeutic nicotine products just as dangerous as cigarettes?

No. Therapeutic nicotine products like patches, lozenges and gum are a safer alternative to smoking.

Cigarette smoke, on the other hand, is composed of over 4,000 chemicals including cyanide, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, radioactive substances and carcinogens - and it's these substances that make it deadly.

Aren’t nicotine-based stop smoking treatments addictive?

NiQuitin products are designed to provide a temporary source of therapeutic nicotine, which can be reduced gradually over a period of time, to make adjusting to life without cigarettes more bearable. Used correctly, you should be nicotine-free by the end of the programme.

What effect does the nicotine in therapeutic nicotine products have on my body?

In non-smokers, dosing with therapeutic nicotine can cause nausea and vomiting but the use of therapeutic nicotine products by smokers trying to quit has an excellent safety record. The side effects associated with them are generally mild and may include a slightly sore/irritated throat for oral forms such as nicotine lozenges and redness/itching for nicotine patches. You should always read the information in the pack before you use a product. In the unlikely event that you experience unusual or severe side effects, contact a healthcare professional. If you have experienced a side effect please tell us about it by calling freephone 0500 100 2222 and speak to one of our Medical Affairs team.

Can I smoke whilst using therapeutic nicotine products?

If you think you can stop smoking straightaway then you should. However, if you feel this is too big a step, then you may wish to try cutting down the number of cigarettes you smoke as a first step before stopping completely. NiQuitin Lozenges, which contain therapeutic nicotine, can help.

Can I use both a patch and an oral aid (like lozenges or gum) simultaneously?

You should choose the product that suits you best, and follow the instructions carefully. But if you feel you can’t give up by using one product alone, consult a healthcare professional for advice on finding extra support.

Will I get too much nicotine from a therapeutic nicotine product if I was previously smoking low nicotine cigarettes?

The nicotine levels on cigarette packs are highly misleading. Few people who change to low nicotine cigarettes substantially lower their exposure to tar and nicotine because they tend to smoke more of them and inhale deeper. However, if you used to smoke light cigarettes and experience excessive side effects from therapeutic nicotine products, you should consult a healthcare professional and move to a lower dose. If you have experienced a side effect please tell us about it by calling freephone 0500 100 2222 and speak to our Medical Affairs team.

Do I need a prescription from a healthcare professional for therapeutic nicotine product such as patches, lozenges and gum?

No. You can buy them without prescription at most pharmacies and supermarkets.

Are therapeutic nicotine products suitable for pregnant women?

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding it is best if you can give up smoking without using therapeutic nicotine. However, it is better to stop smoking using these products than to continue smoking. As with all medicines, if you are pregnant and want to use these products you should talk to a healthcare professional first.

Can therapeutic nicotine products be used by people with heart disease?

Yes, except if you're in hospital because of heart problems (unless your doctor has told you it's OK to use). Evidence indicates that any risks associated with using therapeutic nicotine products are much lower than from smoking itself.

Is there anyone who should not use nicotine-based quit smoking aids?

Yes, namely:

  • Non-smokers
  • People with an allergy to nicotine
  • People under the age of 12


Also, people with certain conditions should consult their doctor before using therapeutic nicotine products. For example if:

  • You have serious liver or kidney disease
  • You have uncontrolled overactive thyroid gland or phaeochromocytoma
  • You have stomach ulcers or other problems with your stomach or throat (oral formats only)
  • You are pregnant or breast feeding


What do you mean by ‘healthcare professional'?

By the term ‘healthcare professional,’ we mean a doctor, nurse, smoking cessation advisor or pharmacist.



Cigarettes


What effect does the nicotine in tobacco have on the body?

Your blood pressure and pulse rate are all increased by smoking, but the main effect is that the nicotine is chemically addictive and has subtle, mood-enhancing effects on the brain.

In fact, if you smoke, your brain actually grows more receptors which thrive on nicotine. When you stop, these receptors are deprived of the nicotine they want. This is why you sometimes have strong cravings for a cigarette that threaten to overwhelm your willpower. Whilst you wean the receptors off nicotine, you will probably also experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, fatigue and hunger.

Are lights/low-tar cigarettes better for me than the regular kind?

No. Although machines used to test cigarettes draw less tar and nicotine from low-tar brands, real smokers don’t – instead, they either smoke more of them or inhale more deeply, to get the same effect.

In fact, low-tar is so misleading it's been banned from cigarette packs. By smoking less or switching to light cigarettes, you're still putting tar into your lungs and more than 4,000 chemicals and toxins into your body. The only solution is to give up tobacco altogether – whether it’s cigarettes, chewing tobacco or cigars.



Stopping Smoking


What should I expect when I stop smoking?

First of all, congratulations – you’ve made the right decision! But be prepared because, inevitably, some withdrawal symptoms will be on the way. They can begin almost immediately after you stop smoking. They’re usually at their worst during the first few days, although they can continue for several weeks. You may experience any of the following: craving for cigarettes, coughing, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, mood changes, nervousness, and headaches. But don’t worry, we’re here to help.

What should I do the day I stop smoking?

Start by asking your family, friends and colleagues to support you! Then throw out all your cigarettes, matches, lighters, ashtrays – in fact everything you associate with smoking. From then on, keep busy. Do some exercise, go to the cinema, take a walk or get together with friends. And if you’ve decided to use a NiQuitin product, start using it alongside your NiQuitin QuitMasters Plan on the day you decide is your quit date.

Will I put on weight when I stop smoking?

Many people (but not everyone) gain a few pounds in the first 8-10 weeks after they quit smoking. But it’s a small price to pay for the enormous gains to your overall health and appearance.

While the exact reason for this weight gain has never been established, some studies suggest nicotine increases the body’s metabolism (it's ability to convert sugar and fat to energy). If you continue to gain weight after the first two months, try and work out why and then change your habits accordingly. (If you eat high fat snacks then switch to healthy snacks, for example, and take more exercise to burn off the extra calories).

Alongside them you could use NiQuitin 4 mg Lozenges (if you smoke within 30 minutes of waking) which can help you to reduce the weight gain associated with quitting smoking. You keep each lozenge in your mouth for up to 30 minutes and to begin with you need to suck at least nine lozenges a day - so you’re less likely to snack. By helping you to control your weight whilst you quit, NiQuitin 4 mg Lozenges can help you stay strong, in control and feeling good about yourself.

What if I slip up and have a cigarette?

Don’t worry – it happens. If you've just had one or two, it's not the end of the world and you haven't necessarily erased the health benefits you've already gained by stopping smoking. After a slip up, the first thing to do is throw out all your cigarettes – then forgive yourself and get right back on track. Don't beat yourself up about it, and don’t discard your NiQuitin in a panic – you need them now more than ever.

If you've been smoking regularly again, don't be too hard on yourself either. You've learned about what works and what doesn't, and with that knowledge, you’re more likely to be successful next time.

I've tried quitting before and always failed. Is my willpower simply not strong enough?

No! The success rate for people who try to stop smoking cold turkey is a dismal 3-5%. Why not try again with the help of a therapeutic nicotine product like NiQuitin? It can double your chances of stopping successfully compared to willpower alone, and signing up to the NiQuitin QuitMasters Plan increases your chances even further.

Where can I discuss stopping smoking with others who are trying to give up?

Most people don’t find it easy to stop smoking - so if you’re struggling, you’re certainly not alone. Sharing experiences with other people who are trying to quit is very helpful and could give you the encouragement you need to stop smoking successfully. If you’re over the age of 18, you can join our Discussion Forum. It’s a great place to get support from others who understand what you’re going through.

Should I drink alcohol while giving up smoking?

In the past you may have liked to smoke while you were having an alcoholic drink, so it’s possible that your usual choice of alcoholic drink is associated with smoking and could stimulate cravings for a cigarette. As alcohol lowers inhibitions, your willpower might be compromised when you’ve had a drink, meaning it’s more difficult to stay off cigarettes. So while you don’t have to completely avoid alcohol while you’re quitting, if you do end up having a cigarette when you drink, it might be better to avoid those situations until your cravings subside.



Stop Smoking Organisations


Useful Contacts

If you want more general information about stopping smoking, you can contact:

QUIT

www.quit.org.uk: The UK charity that helps people give up smoking.

You can call QUIT on 0800 00 22 00 or for individual, same-day advice e-mail QUIT at: stopsmoking@quit.org.uk

UK Department of Health

www.dh.gov.uk: Provides information on government smoking policy and guidance.

You can call 020 7210 4850.

Smokefree England

www.smokefreeengland.co.uk: The official site providing information on Smokefree England 2007.

ASH

www.ash.org.uk: Action on Smoking and Health UK.

E-mail: enquiries@ash.org.uk

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