Treatment
Pros
Cons

Useful links

 

 

Stop smoking support

Includes individual counselling, group counselling, self-help material, telephone counselling.

  • Research suggests you're up to four times more likely to quit with help than with no treatment
  • No risk of side effects
  • Safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Can be used alone or alongside medication
  • Makes medication use more effective
  • Free on the NHS
  • May not be convenient
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

Products such as patches, gum and sprays that provide you with nicotine in a safe form to help reduce cravings and other withdrawal symptoms when you quit smoking

  • Research suggests you're up to twice as likely to quit with NRT than with no treatment
  • Available in forms that release nicotine slowly throughout the day (patches) or provide a nicotine hit within minutes (such as gum and sprays)
  • Some types can be bought from shops without a prescription 
  • Can be used while pregnant or breastfeeding on medical advice
  • Most types are suitable for people over 12 years of age
  • Can cause skin irritation (patches), nose, throat and eye irritation (nasal sprays), vivid dreams, headaches, dizziness and an upset stomach
  • Should be used with caution in people with certain conditions, such as those with kidney or liver problems
Varenicline (Champix) tablets

Medication that makes smoking less pleasurable and helps alleviate withdrawal symptoms

  • Research suggests you're up to three times as likely to quit with varenicline than with no treatment
  • Only available on prescription
  • Not safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Not suitable for under 18s
  • Not suitable for people with severe kidney problems
  • Can cause nausea, vomiting, insomnia, dry mouth, headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, constipation or diarrhoea
Bupropion (Zyban) tablets

Medication that's thought to have an effect on the parts of the brain involved in addictive behaviour 

  • Research suggests you're up to twice as likely to quit with bupropion than with no treatment
  • A course of treatment is usually shorter than with NRT or varenicline

 

  • Only available on prescription
  • Not safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Not suitable for under 18s
  • Not suitable for people with epilepsy, bipolar disorder or an eating disorder 
  • Can cause dry mouth, insomnia, headache, difficulty concentrating and dizziness

 

E-cigarettes

Electronic devices that allow you to inhale vapour containing nicotine

  • Research suggests they can help you give up smoking
  • Current evidence suggests that "vaping" carries only a fraction of the risk of smoking cigarettes
  • Available to buy from shops without a prescription
  • Still fairly new, so it's not yet clear exactly how safe long-term vaping is
Exercise
Taking up a programme of exercise while stopping smoking
  • May help to distract from cravings for nicotine
  • Can be done while taking one of the medications above
  • Good for general health and wellbeing
  • Currently relatively few studies have been carried out to look at how effective this is
Complementary and alternative medicines

Treatments such as acupuncture and hypnotherapy

  • Low risk of side effects or complications
  • Usually safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Lack of good quality evidence to suggest they can help you quit
  • Not recommended by NICE