Stop smoking aids

Willpower is important when you're stopping smoking, but it's easier when combined with some extra support.

Stop smoking aids really help with managing nicotine cravings and other tobacco withdrawal symptoms. They also boost your chances of successfully quitting, especially if you get expert support from your local stop smoking service.

If you have tried stop smoking aids before, it's worth trying again because you may need to try a few to find what's right for you.

Types of stop smoking aids

The different stop smoking aids include:

  • nicotine vapes (e-cigarettes)
  • nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), such as patches, sprays, gum and lozenges
  • prescription-only medicines (tablets)

You can ask a doctor or pharmacist for more advice on what's right for you or get free expert support from your local stop smoking service – for the best chance of quitting for good.

Nicotine vapes

Vapes are electronic devices that let you inhale nicotine in a vapour instead of smoke. This is done by heating a solution (e-liquid), which comes in different nicotine strengths and flavours.

Vapes come in a variety of models. They can be bought from specialist vape shops, some pharmacies, supermarkets and other shops.

Research shows that nicotine vapes are an effective tool for quitting smoking. People who use a vape daily together with support from a stop smoking service have the most success at quitting.

Experts agree that although vapes are not risk-free, they are substantially less harmful than smoking, demonstrated in this video produced by Public Health England which shows the impact of smoking versus vaping. Because vaping is not completely harmless, it is not recommended for non-smokers and young people.

To avoid potential fire risks vapes should be disposed of correctly. Visit the Recycle your electricals website to find your nearest recycling point.

For more information about vaping, visit the NHS Better Health website.

If you'd like help choosing the right vape and liquid, a specialist vape shop can give you lots of advice, see the Find a Vape Shop website or you can talk to your local stop smoking advisor, see our Stop smoking services page

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

The main reason that people smoke is because they are addicted to nicotine.

NRT is a medicine that provides you with a low level of nicotine, without the tar, carbon monoxide and other poisonous chemicals present in tobacco smoke. It can help reduce unpleasant withdrawal effects, such as bad moods and cravings, which may occur when you stop smoking.

Types of NRT

There is a range of NRT products to choose from. To get the best results, it is a good idea to use a combination of NRTs.  It's about finding a combination that works for you.

These products are supplied on prescription if you choose to access your local stop smoking service or, if not, they can be bought at pharmacies and other retail outlets, eg supermarkets.

NRT is available as:

  • skin patches
  • chewing gum
  • inhalators (which look like plastic cigarettes)
  • tablets, oral strips and lozenges
  • nasal and mouth sprays

For more information about how to use NRT, visit the NHS website.

Your Wellbeing hub