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Nicotine Patches, Gum, Lozenges & Inhalers May Help You Quit Smoking

by | Sep 15, 2020 | In the News

ST. JOHNSBURY, VT (September 15, 2020) – If you are a smoker and are looking to quit, the Tobacco Specialists at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) may be able to help you navigate Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). NRT products, such as nicotine patches, gum, lozenges and inhalers, are available in multiple dosages, with pros and cons to each, to help people quit using tobacco products.

“Nicotine replacements provides nicotine to the person without the action and habit of smoking, dipping, or vaping,” NVRH Tobacco Specialist Lew Apgar said. “Individuals who use nicotine replacements are twice as likely to be successful at quitting smoking as those who use nothing. Plus, there is a wide variety of types and doses available to help people make individual quit plans.”

Typically, NRTs are broken down into two main categories: Over-The-Counter (OTC) and prescription-only. OTC include nicotine gum, lozenges, and patches, and prescription-only includes nicotine inhaler and nasal spray. The Over-The-Counter (OTC) varieties are available at most pharmacies for sale without a prescription, however many insurances, including Medicaid, will cover these at no or very low cost. Contact your primary care provider for more information. You can also get these products through the state of Vermont for free by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW, or going online at 802Quits.org.

Obtaining the prescription-only varieties can be a little more complicated. However, NVRH Tobacco Treatment Specialists at Community Connections can work with your primary care provider, your insurer, and your pharmacy to get you this medication. Many insurances, including Medicaid, will want you to have one or two documented tried and failed attempts on the OTC type before they will cover the cost of the prescription-only variety. So remember, even if you are purchasing the NRT OTC or getting it from the state for free, please communicate this with your primary care provider. Plus, your primary care provider will likely also be an additional positive support for you.

Dosing can be another complicated issue. OTC NRTs come in a variety of dosages and strengths. Some of the most effective strategies include use of a combination of treatments, with a long-acting patch to aid with withdrawal symptoms and a short acting agent to curb immediate cravings. Because it can be complicated, NVRH Tobacco Treatment Specialists, Lynn Goulding and Lew Apgar at Community Connections, are available to help explain your options. Both Goulding and Apgar may be reached at 802-748-7526.

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