All You Need to Know About Nicotine Replacement Therapy

All You Need to Know About Nicotine Replacement Therapy - Quit With Nerd

The journey to quit smoking is often a challenging one, filled with obstacles and setbacks. But, it’s also a journey towards reclaiming your health and improving your quality of life, making every step worth it.

One of the most effective tools in your arsenal to combat nicotine addiction is Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). From patches to gum, to sprays and more, NRT offers a variety of options to help you curb cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms.

Whether you’re just beginning your smoke-free journey or you’ve tried quitting before, this guide aims to provide the information and insights you need to make an informed decision about NRT. Let’s embark on this journey together towards a healthier, smoke-free future.

Which NRT is most effective?

Here is an in-depth analysis of the most effective forms of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT):

  1. Nicotine Gum: This form of NRT works by releasing nicotine into your bloodstream through the lining of your mouth when you chew it. It’s an effective method of quitting smoking, as it allows you to control your dosage and manage your cravings. However, it can cause jaw soreness, hiccups, and heartburn.
  2. Nicotine Patches: They deliver a steady dose of nicotine through your skin over a period of 16 or 24 hours. They are easy to use and all you need to do is stick one on your skin each day. Patches may cause skin irritation, dizziness, and sleep problems.
  3. Nicotine Inhalers: They work by releasing nicotine vapor that gets absorbed in your mouth and throat. They are particularly helpful for heavy smokers as they mimic the hand-to-mouth action of smoking. Side effects can include throat irritation and coughing.
  4. Nicotine Lozenges: These are tablets that dissolve in your mouth and release nicotine into your bloodstream through the lining of your mouth. They are easy to use and portable but can cause heartburn, nausea, and hiccups.
  5. Nicotine Spray: This form of NRT delivers a specific dose of nicotine through a pump bottle when you spray it into your nostrils. It provides a quick hit of nicotine, which can be particularly helpful for heavy smokers. Side effects can include nose and throat irritation and runny nose.

Combining the nicotine patch with an oral form of NRT has been shown to increase quit rates by 34–54% compared to using the patch alone.

In terms of cost, accessibility, and ease of use, nicotine patches and gum are typically the most affordable and widely available options, while inhalers and nasal sprays are often more expensive and may require a prescription.

Ultimately, the effectiveness of these therapies depends largely on how they are used (in combination with behavioral support) and the individual’s commitment to quitting. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider to find the most effective approach for you.

Is combination NRT more effective than single NRT?

Yes, combination Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is generally considered more effective than single NRT.

The use of two nicotine replacement therapies together is also more likely to help you quit successfully than using one alone.

Also read: The 6 Different Methods of Nicotine Replacement Therapy and How They Can Help

For instance, using a patch can reduce your withdrawal symptoms over a longer period, while gum or lozenges can help manage immediate cravings.

Several studies have found that combination NRT results in significantly higher quit rates compared to single-form NRT. A study published in Evidence-Based Practice found that combination NRT led to higher quit rates at 6 to 12 months compared to single-form NRT.

Similarly, a study published in the BMC Public Health journal showed that combined NRT was significantly more superior to single NRT at 4 weeks. The Cochrane Library also provides high-certainty evidence that combination NRT results in higher long-term quit rates than single form.

Therefore, while both single and combination NRTs can be effective, the majority of evidence suggests that using a combination of NRT products can increase the chances of successfully quitting smoking.

What is the Success Rate of Single NRT vs. Combined?

NRT MethodSuccess Rate
Single Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)14.3% at 52 weeks
Combined Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)20.1% at 52 weeks
Combination of varenicline and NRT55.4% at 12 weeks
Note: Success rates can vary depending on individual circumstances, adherence to the therapy, and other factors.

What is the quickest form of nicotine replacement?

The quickest forms are typically those that deliver nicotine quickly to the body. These include:

  1. nicotine gums
  2. lozenges
  3. mouth sprays
  4. inhalators

Also read: How Long Does it Takes to Detox from Nicotine?

What are the safest nicotine intake methods?

NRT products are generally considered among the safest ways to intake nicotine. These include nicotine patches, gum, nasal spray, lozenges, and inhalers.

Is NRT safer than vaping?

Both nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and vaping can be effective tools in helping individuals quit smoking.

According to a study referenced by Oxford University, e-cigarettes were found to be more effective than traditional NRT methods for helping smokers quit.

On the other hand, the CDC emphasizes that NRT is much less addictive than cigarettes. It helps decrease the urge to smoke and reduces uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

When it comes to safety, both NRT and vaping are considered safer than smoking. However, there are still potential risks associated with both. For example, some people might experience side effects from NRT, and there are concerns about the long-term health effects of vaping.

The NHS advises that while e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes, they are not recommended for non-smokers and people who have never smoked.

Is vaping considered a nicotine replacement?

E-cigarettes or vaping can be used as a form of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), but it’s important to note that they are not considered a first-line treatment for smoking cessation by some organizations like the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

Research, including a Cochrane Review, has found that e-cigarettes can be more effective than traditional NRTs, such as patches and gum, in helping smokers quit.

However, these products should be used with caution as they are not risk-free. Some studies suggest that e-cigarettes are almost twice as effective as nicotine patches and gum in helping smokers quit.

While e-cigarettes can help manage nicotine cravings, they also expose users to potential health risks. For instance, e-cigarettes still deliver nicotine and they may also contain other harmful chemicals.

Ultimately, whether vaping is considered a form of NRT can depend on the context and the specific guidelines being followed. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider when considering NRT options.

Can NRT cause hair loss?

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) involves the use of products that provide low doses of nicotine but do not contain the toxins found in smoke. The goal of NRT is to relieve cravings for nicotine and reduce the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, thereby supporting smokers in their attempt to quit.

While there isn’t a direct link between NRT and hair loss, nicotine itself has been linked with potential hair loss.

According to several sources, nicotine can cause hair loss by restricting blood flow to the hair follicles, which starves them of the necessary nutrients needed for hair growth.


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The Pros and Cons of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)


  1. Reduces Withdrawal Symptoms: NRT can help manage withdrawal symptoms, like cravings, restlessness, frustration, or anger, that you may experience when you stop smoking.
  2. Double the Chances of Quitting: According to the American Cancer Society, smokers who use NRT can almost double their chances of successfully quitting.
  3. Controlled Nicotine Delivery: Unlike cigarettes, which deliver a high dose of nicotine quickly, NRT provides a controlled amount of nicotine without the harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke.
  4. Flexible Options: There are various forms of NRT available, including patches, gums, lozenges, nasal sprays, and inhalers, so you can choose what works best for you.


  1. Side Effects: Some people may experience side effects from NRT, such as skin irritation from patches, mouth problems from gum or lozenges, or a runny nose or cough from nasal sprays or inhalers.
  2. Continued Dependence on Nicotine: Because NRT still provides nicotine, albeit in a controlled manner, there’s a risk of continued dependence on nicotine.
  3. Not a Standalone Solution: NRT is most effective when used in combination with other quit strategies, such as behavioral therapy or support groups.
  4. Cost: Some forms of NRT can be expensive, especially if used over a long period of time.


Remember, while NRT can significantly boost your success rate, it’s most effective when used in conjunction with a behavioral program or other support system.

Ultimately, the best method of NRT is the one that fits your lifestyle, meets your needs, and supports you on your journey to becoming smoke-free.

Also read:

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