• Use Medication - Tobacco Treatment

    Anyone who is trying to quit tobacco may benefit from using a medication. Medications can double your chances of quitting. Your chances of quitting are even better when you combine medications with counseling.

    Your health care provider will help you decide which medication is right for you. It is especially important that you talk with your health care provider about these medications if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, nursing, under age 18, smoking fewer than 10 cigarettes per day, or have a health problem. 

    Medications that do not have nicotine

    • Varenicline (Chantix). Varenicline is a prescription medication that helps lower the urge to smoke. It can more than double your chances of quitting when combined with counseling. Varenicline can be used for up to 24 weeks. Most people can take varenicline without any problems. Some people have nausea, trouble sleeping or drowsiness. Be careful driving or operating machinery until you know how varenicline may affect you. If you notice changes in your behavior, become agitated or depressed, or have suicidal thoughts while on varenicline, stop taking the drug and contact your health care provider right away.
    • Bupropion (Zyban). Bupropion is a prescription medication that may help lower symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. It can be used for up to 12 weeks. Side effects may include trouble sleeping, dry mouth and dizziness. People with certain health problems should not take bupropion. Talk with your health care provider to learn if bupropion is right for you. 

    Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

    Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) helps relieve the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, like headaches, sleep problems and anxiety. It releases a specific amount of nicotine (less than the amount in a cigarette), but not the other harmful chemicals in tobacco. NRT helps lower the physical cravings of nicotine so that you can focus on the psychological aspects of quitting.

    NRT is available in many forms. The most common are available over the counter and include the following:

    • Nicotine patch. The patch comes in a number of strengths. It delivers a dose of nicotine continuously through your skin. You wean yourself off of nicotine by switching to lower-strength patches over a course of weeks. You should never smoke while using the patch.
    • Nicotine gum. The gum comes in two strengths. You wean yourself off of nicotine by chewing less gum over the course of weeks. You should chew the gum until it tastes peppery. Then place it between your cheek and gums. Start chewing again when you feel an urge to use tobacco or when the gum no longer tastes peppery.
    • Nicotine lozenge. The lozenge also comes in two strengths. You wean yourself off of nicotine by using fewer lozenges over the course of weeks. You should place the lozenge between your cheek and gums until it is completely dissolved.

    Other forms of NRT, like a nasal spray and inhaler, are also available by prescription. Talk with your health care provider to learn more about these forms of NRT. 


     Your Health insurance may help you quit!  


    If you’re thinking about quitting smoking, find out how your health insurance plan can help. Many health plans help cover the cost of medicines and counseling to help you quit smoking. Remember, using quit-smoking medicine or counseling support can more than double your chances to quit for good!

    Content adapted from the American Cancer Society’s Guide to Quitting.

  • Call the QUIT line

    781.756.QUIT (7848) 
  • Register For Programs or Request Information

    Request more information or register for FREE sessions of the American Lung Association's Freedom from Smoking®. Pre-registration is required.

  • Meet the Team

    Meet the Tobacco Treatment team at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center