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NicAssist FAQs

Want to know more about NicAssist stop smoking aids? Find out how they may help support your efforts to quit

Published 28/12/2010

Read our popular questions about how to use stop smoking aids like NicAssist.

How do I quit?

Because smoking is an addiction, you may find it difficult to give up but if you follow the information and instructions provided with Boots Pharmaceuticals NicAssist products and you also try to use a behavioural support programme, you stand a good chance.

Some people may find it easier to set a date to quit and stop smoking immediately. Others, who are unable or not ready to stop smoking immediately, may benefit from gradually reducing the number of cigarettes they smoke each day until they feel ready to stop completely.

Some people may not yet be ready to stop smoking completely or to reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke. However, there may be situations or occasions when they can't or don't want to smoke. The NicAssist 10 mg Inhalator**, NicAssist Ice Mint 4 mg Gum* and NicAssist Ice Mint 2 mg Gum* can also be used when you can't or don't want to smoke to provide a safer alternative to smoking for you and those around you, for example when you are with friends or family or at a party, in the pub, at work, on a plane or train etc. If you can't or don't want to smoke for a long period of time, such as when on long plane flight, the Boots Pharmaceuticals NicAssist 24 Hour Transdermal Patch can also be used to relieve and/or prevent cravings for nicotine.

* Always read the label. Contains nicotine. Requires willpower.

When using any type of nicotine replacement therapy, such as an inhalator, you should always aim to stop smoking completely. The benefits of stopping smoking far outweigh any potential risk from NRT products. It is the toxins in cigarette smoke such as tar, lead, cyanide and ammonia that cause most known smoking related disease and death, not the nicotine.

What is Nicotine Replacement Therapy?

* Always read the label. Contains nicotine. Requires willpower.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (or NRT) are products that contain nicotine. The nicotine in these products relieves the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and reduces the cravings for nicotine that you get when you try to stop smoking. The amount of nicotine is sufficient to relieve the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and will help to stop your craving to smoke but will not give you the "buzz" you get from a cigarette.



If you are unsure which type of nicotine replacement therapy is right for you to use ask your pharmacist, nurse or doctor for more advice.

* Always read the label. Contains nicotine. Requires willpower.

Why might I consider stop smoking products?

There are many reasons why you may want to stop smoking or why you may want to avoid causing harm to yourself and those around you, but you may be concerned about using NRT products. However, the benefits of stopping smoking far outweigh any potential risk from using nicotine from NRT.

You may also think that smoking helps relieve feelings of anxiety and stress, but it does not deal with the cause of the stress and may lead to a number of serious diseases. In addition, the feeling of relaxation after smoking is temporary, with withdrawal symptoms and cravings soon returning.

  • NRT can help relieve nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, low mood, anxiety, restlessness and cravings when used in place of cigarettes.
  • NRT may also benefit smokers who want to quit, by helping to control weight gain that may be experienced when trying to stop smoking
  • Using NRT is safer than smoking tobacco. As soon as you are ready, you should aim to stop smoking completely.


What strength do I need?

* Always read the label. Contains nicotine. Requires willpower.

The NicAssist inhalator, nasal spray and microtabs are only available in one strength and, following the instructions provided, you can vary the amount of nicotine that you need to use to relieve the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and help stop your craving to smoke.

The Boots Pharmaceuticals NicAssist 24 Hour Transdermal Patches are available in three strengths, 21 mg, 14 mg and 7mg. Normally treatment begins with using the highest strength 25 mg patch the day after you stop smoking completely, then the amount of nicotine that you are getting is slowly reduced by switching to lower strength patches, following the instructions provided. This can vary depending on the number of cigarettes you smoke per day.



NicAssist Ice Mint, Minty Fresh and Fruit Fresh gums are available in two strengths, 4 mg and 2 mg. The 2 mg gum should be used for those who smoke 20 cigarettes or fewer a day. The 4 mg gum should be used for those who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day. However, the 2 mg gum will also be useful for heavier smokers as they gradually start to reduce the strength and number of gums they use each day.

NicAssist lozenges are available in two strengths, 2 mg and 1 mg. The 1 mg lozenges should be used by those who smoke less than 20 cigarettes per day. The 2 mg lozenges should be used by those who smoke more than 30 cigarettes per day. However, if you smoke between 20 and 30 cigarettes per day you can use either the 1 mg or 2 mg lozenges. If you use the 2 mg lozenge and find that you get side effects, try using the 1 mg lozenge.



If a particular type of Boots Pharmaceuticals NicAssist product does not suit you, your pharmacist, doctor or nurse may be able to advise you on suitable alternatives. However, if you change the type of product you are using, please note that NicAssist 2 mg Lozenge is not equivalent to a NicAssist 2 mg gum. If you need more advice, ask your pharmacist.

* Always read the label. Contains nicotine. Requires willpower.

Should I worry about getting addicted to NicAssist products?

* Always read the label. Contains nicotine. Requires willpower.

NicAssist Microtab

It is rare that people giving up smoking become addicted to NRT products. However, it is important that you always follow the instructions provided with each product to make sure you're using them correctly. On rare occasions when people have become addicted to NRT products, it has been shown that breaking the addiction to NRT products is easier than breaking an addiction to cigarettes. If you find it hard to stop using NRT, you are worried that you will start smoking again without NRT or you find it difficult to reduce the amount of NRT you are using, talk to your pharmacist, nurse or doctor for advice.

What else can I do to help me stop smoking?

The overriding success factor in stopping smoking is how determined you are. The first few weeks of quitting or reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke will probably be the most difficult because your smoking ritual is still fresh in your mind. However you will find that, as time goes by, your willpower becomes stronger.



  • If you are thinking about setting a date to quit and stop smoking immediately, there is never a perfect time but you should plan ahead by choosing a date in the not too distant future. Try to pick a day when you will not be too stressed.
  • Think about the times you will miss smoking the most. Are you accustomed to smoking at certain times, or with particular people or as a result of particular circumstances? Plan how you will cope on those occasions. Changing your routine will help you break the habit of smoking. Make sure you remove all cigarettes, matches, lighters etc. from the home, the car, and at work. Ask your friends and colleagues not to offer you cigarettes or smoke close by you.
  • Encourage a friend or family member to quit with you. Quitting with a fellow smoker is a good idea. It will strengthen your resolve and build on your determination and will give your morale a boost since there will be another person knowing exactly what you're feeling and with whom you can share your determination to stop smoking.
  • One of the really noticeable benefits of "stopping" is the extra cash that's suddenly available. To emphasise the point put the money into a pot marked "cash not ash" and watch it accumulate. But be sure to use the money to treat yourself. You deserve a REWARD for NOT smoking.
  • Remember, giving up is more difficult for some people than others. If you fail to stop first time, don't be disheartened. Try again at a later date - you can do it! Remember the most successful long term ex-smokers have usually had to try several times to stop smoking... if you don't succeed - quit again.

What if I am not sure I can give up all cigarettes?

If you are ready to stop smoking completely, you can use NicAssist products to replace all of your cigarettes. You should always follow the instructions provided with each product but, in general, the aim is to replace all of your cigarettes with NRT then gradually reduce the amount of nicotine you are getting by reducing the amount of gums, inhalator, lozenges, microtabs or nasal spray you are using or to reduce the strength of the Boots Pharmaceuticals NicAssist 24 Hour Transdermal Patches you are using.

If you are not yet ready to stop smoking completely, you can use the patches, gums, inhalators or microtabs to replace as many cigarettes as possible. You should always follow the instructions provided with each product but, in general, the aim is to start gradually replacing some of your cigarettes with NRT. After achieving this you then give up cigarettes completely while using NRT. Finally you give up using the NRT.

When making an attempt to stop smoking completely, behavioural therapy, advice and support will increase your chances of successfully stopping smoking.

If you feel unable to stop smoking but you don't want to smoke cigarettes or you want to avoid causing harm to others, such as when you are with friends or family, or if you feel unable to stop smoking completely but you can't smoke cigarettes, such as when you are at a party, in the pub, at work, on a plane or train etc., you can also use NicAssist 10 mg Inhalator, NicAssist Ice Mint 4 mg Gum, NicAssist Ice Mint 2 mg Gum or, for longer periods of time, Boots Pharmaceuticals NicAssist 24 Hour Transdermal Patch 14mg or Boots Pharmaceuticals NicAssist 24 Hour Transdermal Patch 21mg to relieve and/or prevent cravings for nicotine.

* Always read the label. Contains nicotine. Requires willpower.

How long should I use NicAssist products for?

When stopping smoking completely, or replacing as many cigarettes as possible with NRT before stopping smoking completely, you should normally use NRT for approximately three months (12 weeks). However, this may vary from person to person. You should always follow the instructions provided with each Boots Pharmaceuticals NicAssist product and ask your pharmacist, nurse or doctor for advice if needed.

If you find it hard to stop using NRT, you are worried that you will start smoking again without NRT or you find it difficult to reduce the amount of NRT you are using, talk to your pharmacist, nurse or doctor.

Can I use NicAssist products if I'm pregnant/ breastfeeding?

If you are pregnant, you should try to stop smoking without using NRT.

However, if you still need help to stop smoking, you can use NicAssist products as the risk to your baby is far less than if you continue to smoke. You should talk to your pharmacist, nurse or doctor for more advice.

NRT products that are used intermittently, such as gums, nasal sprays, inhalators, microtabs or lozenges, may be preferable to nicotine patches. However if you feel sick or are sick (morning sickness) the patches may be better for you. If you do use nicotine patches they should be taken off before bedtime.

If you are breastfeeding you should try to stop smoking without using NRT.

However, if you still need help to stop smoking, you should use NRT products that are used intermittently, not patches. You should talk to your pharmacist, nurse or doctor for more advice.

If you breastfeed your baby just before you use NRT, including Boots Pharmaceuticals NicAssist 24 Hour Transdermal Patches 7mg, this helps to ensure that your baby gets the smallest amount of nicotine possible.

The amount of nicotine that your baby may receive when you are using NRT products is much smaller and less harmful than the second-hand smoke they would inhale if you smoked.

Tobacco smoke causes breathing and other health problems in babies and children. If your husband, partner or other family members smoke too, try to get them to give up with you.


*All NicAssist products are stop smoking aids that contain nicotine. Always read the label. Requires willpower.



Read more like this:
Which NicAssist product is right for me?
NicAssist Help and Information
How I quit smoking

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