Click2Quit Logo

Questions About Therapeutic Nicotine Products

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

No. Therapeutic nicotine products like patches, lozenges and gum have an excellent safety record and are much safer than 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 pharmacists.

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. Click here to find out the type that’s best for you. 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 one of our pharmacists.

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). All the 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
  • People who are in hospital because of heart problems, unless their doctor tells them otherwise

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.