Methods and medications

There are many effective ways to quit smoking, and no one way works for everyone. To increase your chances of quitting for good, it’s helpful to know which evidence-based methods have been proven to increase your odds of success. Evidence shows that combining telephone counselling with medications or NRT can increase your chances of successfully quitting. Learn about the various methods and medications to help you determine what will work best for you.

Quit with extra help. Explore our resources and tools to make quitting easier. 

Prescription medications

Prescription medications do not contain nicotine but reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms by affecting how nicotine interacts with your brain. Using quitting medications can increase your chances of quitting smoking successfully. It's even more effective when combined with counselling support.

Nicotine replacement therapy

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) works by providing the body with nicotine to help reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. NRT is one of the most effective tools to help people quit and can increase your chances of quit success. It's even more effective when combined with counselling.
Nicotine lozenges
The nicotine lozenge is similar to a cough drop or a throat lozenge. It is a non-prescription medication (over-the-counter) available at your local pharmacy. Each lozenge has nicotine in it, allowing you to receive nicotine when you have a craving for a cigarette.


When used as directed, there is evidence it can increase your chances of successfully quitting.


  • Easy to use.
  • Small lozenge that dissolves in the mouth.
  • Helps to manage the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal such as breakthrough cravings.
  • You can choose the strength of lozenge to use. This is dependent on the number of cigarettes you smoke per day.

Common side effects

  • Mouth, throat or tongue irritation
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Hiccups
  • Upset stomach
  • Dizziness

How to use

  • Place one lozenge in your mouth and allow it to dissolve slowly.
  • Occasionally move the lozenge from one side of your mouth to the other.
  • Do not bite, chew, or swallow the lozenge whole.
  • Do not eat or drink while the lozenge is in your mouth.
  • Do not use more than 15 lozenges per day.
  • The lozenge should take about 20 to 30 minutes to dissolve.

Note: There are two strengths of lozenges so talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which strength is right for you.

For more information on appropriate dosage, read the package insert or consult your physician or pharmacist.

Warnings & precautions

Do not use the nicotine lozenge if you are:

  • Under the age of 18 years of age.
  • Allergic to nicotine or any of the non-medicinal ingredients in the product.

Consult your pharmacist or physician prior to using the nicotine lozenge if the following apply to you:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Heart problems.
  • Thyroid problems.
  • Circulation problems.
  • Stomach problems.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Taking insulin.
  • Use any prescribed medication regularly. Smoking alters the effects of some medications, and when you quit smoking it may be necessary for your doctor to adjust the doses, especially if you are diabetic, taking medications for high blood pressure or heart disease, or taking antidepressants, tranquilizers or sleeping pills.

Fully covered supply of Nicotine Lozenge for BC Residents 

Each calendar year, eligible BC residents can receive up to a three month supply of  Nicorette® lozenges (2 mg, 4 mg) through the PharmaCare BC Smoking Cessation Program. You can find more information about how to access this program here.

Other methods

There are other quit methods and approaches that people use to quit, but some are more effective than others. Read more about which methods will increase your likelihood of quitting in the long run.