Quit for Good with Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)—like the nicotine patch, gum, and lozenge—is proven to increase your chances of quitting. It can help you get through cravings and decrease symptoms of withdrawal, but it won’t completely take away the urge to smoke. For best results, carefully follow the directions for using NRT. Make sure the dose is high enough and use the nicotine medicine for the recommended amount of time (2–4 months). Combine NRT with counseling to improve your chances of quitting and staying quit.

Support from SmokefreeVET’s text messaging program can also help you stay on track as you quit smoking or using other tobacco. Sign up to get daily advice, tips, and motivation to help you quit for good.

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Estimate Your Nicotine Dosage

How many cigarettes do you smoke per day?

10 or fewer
21 or more


Gum or Lozenge

*See NRT package inserts for complete dosing recommendations and talk to your health care provider.

Estimate Your Nicotine Dosage

How many cans/pouches do you use per week?

More than 3


Gum or Lozenge

*See NRT package inserts for complete dosing recommendations and talk to your health care provider.

Choose Your Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Your Chances of Staying Quit…

Many people choose to quit without any assistance—also known as “quitting cold turkey.” But data show that compared to quitting cold turkey, you are much more likely to stay quit if you use quit smoking aids like nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, and counseling.

Select one or more of the therapies above to see how your likelihood of staying quit could change.

Illustrated man whose smile gets broader as your chances of staying quit increase.

You Selected this Therapy:

Please make a selection above.

How to Use the Nicotine Patch & Lozenge

  • Begin using the patch and lozenge together on your quit date.
  • Each day, remove the old patch when you wake up, and apply one new patch.
  • Use lozenges as needed to control cravings.
  • Let the lozenge slowly dissolve in your mouth near your cheek and gum.
  • Do not chew or swallow the lozenge; it may make you nauseous or upset your stomach.
  • Continue to use the patch and lozenge if you slip and smoke or use chewing tobacco.
  • Discontinue use of the patch and lozenge if you return to regular smoking or tobacco use.

Planning Your Day

Using combination therapy increases your chance of staying quit. The patch provides a steady dose of nicotine for withdrawal relief, while the lozenge is used as needed to control cravings.

Animated GIF showing how one might space out their NRT and/or counseling use throughout the day.

Nicotine Facts

These facts about NRT may surprise you—like the fact that NRT contains only purified nicotine and none of the other toxins found in tobacco. That way, you can safely reduce your dependence on nicotine. Click through to learn more facts about NRT.

FACT 1 /7

NRT works.

When used as directed, NRT can double your chances of quitting for good.

FACT 2 /7

NRT helps with tough cravings.

The worst withdrawal symptoms usually last only a few days to a couple of weeks. NRT can help make these symptoms less intense.

FACT 3 /7

Combining NRT improves your chances of staying quit.

NRT products can be used safely together. Try a long-acting patch with a short-acting lozenge or gum to fight off cravings.

FACT 4 /7

It’s OK if you slip up.

It is safe to continue using NRT even if you slip and smoke one or two cigarettes. Staying on NRT increases your chances of getting back on track for quitting.

FACT 5 /7

NRT is safe.

Research shows that NRT is safe and effective for almost all adults. Pregnant women, teens, and people with serious health issues should talk to their doctor before using NRT.

FACT 6 /7

NRT is available over the counter.

NRT is so safe, it doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription.

FACT 7 /7

NRT is designed to prevent addiction.

NRT is far less addictive than tobacco because it delivers less nicotine at a slower rate. Most people can taper down and stop using NRT after a few months.

Talk to Your Doctor

Talk with your healthcare provider about the best type of NRT or other tobacco cessation medication and the right dosage for you. Their recommendation will be based on your experiences with medications in the past; how much you currently smoke, dip, chew, and any other medical conditions you have.

Your doctor may also recommend prescription medicines such as bupropion (Zyban®/Wellbutrin®) or varenicline (CHANTIX®) to help you quit. These medications do not contain nicotine, but they can reduce your urge to smoke.

Call 1-855-QUIT-VET (1-855-784-8838), VA’s tobacco quitline for Veterans, to speak with a tobacco cessation counselor Monday–Friday. Counseling is available in English and Spanish.

Photo of a female doctor talking with her male patient about how to quit tobacco in the hallway of a clinic.
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