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Smoking - Medicines To Help You Quit

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Quitting is not easy but you can do it. There are medicines that may help you quit.

There are products that help wean your body off the nicotine you get from cigarettes and tobacco. There are other medicines that help you deal with the cravings and other problems that you feel when you stop smoking.

This page lists all of the different FDA-approved products you can use to help you quit. Talk to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about which product is right for you.

Why Quit?

Quitting may improve your health and wellness. If you quit smoking, you may:

  • lower your chance of dying of lung cancer
  • improve your skin
  • reduce bad breath 

Some women also decide to quit for their children or family. Whatever your reasons for quitting, you have made the right choice.

Why is it so hard to quit?

Many people who smoke become addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products. When you try to stop smoking, you might:

  • crave cigarettes
  • feel nervous
  • feel irritable (cranky)
  • have headaches
  • have problems sleeping
  • feel depressed

These may be signs of nicotine withdrawal. Talk to your health care provider about the medicines listed in this booklet that may help you deal with withdrawal.

Nicotine Replacement Products

Nicotine replacement products give your body nicotine without most of the other chemicals found in cigarettes and other kinds of tobacco. These products help you wean your body off tobacco and help you deal with withdrawal.

  • Read the label and talk to your healthcare provider as needed about the right way to use each product.
  • Ask how these products will affect your other medicines. Ask about the risks and side effects.
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should only use nicotine replacement products if their doctor says that it is OK.
Product Type Product Name Availability
Patch Habitrol
Store Brand or Generic
Gum Nicorette
Store Brand or Generic
Nasal Spray Nicotrol Prescription
Inhaler Nicotrol Prescription
Lozenge Commit
Store Brand or Generic

You can get up-to-date facts about each product on the FDA website. Type in the brand name or generic name of your product at: Drugs@FDA.

Other Medicines to Help You Quit

Some prescription medicines have been found to help people deal with the withdrawal symptoms they feel when they quit smoking. Talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits, risks, and side effects for each medicine.

Product Type Brand Name Generic Name Availability
Pill Zyban Bupropion Prescription
Pill Chantix Varenicline Tartrate Prescription

Other Things to Consider

Before you take Chantix or Zyban, tell your healthcare provider if you:

  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
  • are breastfeeding. 

When trying to quit smoking with or without stop-smoking medicines, some people have significant side effects including new or worsening mental health problems such as:

  • thoughts about suicide or dying
  • attempts to commit suicide
  • new or worse depression
  • new or worse anxiety
  • feeling very agitated or restless
  • panic attacks
  • trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • new or worse irritability
  • acting aggressive, being angry, or violent
  • acting on dangerous impulses
  • an extreme increase in activity and talking (mania)
  • other unusual changes in behavior or mood

These symptoms happen more often in people who had a history of mental health problems before trying to quit smoking than in people without a history of mental health problems.

  • Stop taking Chantix or Zyban and call your healthcare provider right away if you, your family, or your caregiver notices any of these side effects.
  • Before taking these medicines, tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had depression or other mental health problems. You should also tell your provider about any symptoms you had during other times you tried to quit smoking.
  • Read the patient Medication Guide that comes with each new Chantix or Zyban prescription because the information may have changed. The Medication Guide explains the risks associated with the use of the medicine.

Quit Smoking Tips

Quit Smoking… for yourself and for those who need you.

  1. Set a Quit Date
    • Pick a day in the next 2 weeks.
    • Plan fun activities for your quit day to take your mind off smoking and tobacco.
  2. Tell your Friends and Family
    • Get help from the important people in your life.
    • Join a support group.
    • Call a quit smoking helpline.
  3. Plan for Challenges and Setbacks
    • Plan ways to deal with cravings, withdrawal, and stress.
    • Do not give up.
    • Keep trying.
  4. Remove all Cigarettes and Other Tobacco
    • Get rid of cigarettes and tobacco.
    • Throw out your matches, lighters, and ashtrays.
    • Clean your clothes and house to get rid of cigarette smell.
  5. Talk to your Healthcare Provider
    • Talk to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about medicines to help you deal with nicotine withdrawal.
    • Ask if your other medicines will work differently now that you have quit smoking.

Learn More About Quitting Smoking

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