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 mouth spray
The mouth spray provides fast relief from cravings. One or two sprays can control cravings in 60 seconds. It is a non-prescription (over-the-counter) nicotine replacement therapy product you can get from your local pharmacy.

The spray is NOT covered under The PharmaCare BC Smoking Cessation Program.


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


  • Controls cravings fast.
  • User decides how often to use the mouth spray (i.e. use it only if you need it).
  • Reduces the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal cravings and irritability.

Common side effects

  • Tingling lips
  • Hiccups
  • Strong taste – from nicotine
  • Throat irritation
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn

How to use

  • Prime the dispenser - point the nozzle away and press the dispenser several times until a fine mist appears. If the spray is not used for 2 or more days, this may be repeated.
  • Hold dispenser as close to the open mouth as possible – avoid the lips.
  • Press the top of the dispenser to release one spray into the mouth.
  • Do not inhale while spraying – spray into the mouth not the throat.
  • For best results, do not swallow for a few seconds after spraying.
  • If after a few minutes cravings are still present, spray once more.

Recommended schedule:

  • Use a maximum of 2 sprays at a time, maximum 4 sprays per hour.
  • Do not use more than 64 sprays per day.
  • As your body adjusts to not smoking, you can choose to stop using the mouth spray or slowly reduce the number of sprays you use a day.
  • Do not use the mouth spray for more than six months, unless directed to do so by your healthcare provider.
  • Do not have any acidic beverages like coffee, tea, juice, and soda while using the mouth spray. The acid in these drinks can prevent your mouth from absorbing the nicotine from the mouth spray.
  • It is important to carry the mouth spray with you at all times so that you can respond to your cravings when they occur.

Warnings & precautions

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

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Being treated for any serious heart condition.
  • Heart attack or stroke within the last two weeks.
  • Require kidney dialysis.
  • 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.

Stop using the nicotine mouth spray immediately and see your doctor if you have:

  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Palpitations
  • Leg pain
  • Persistent stomach pain
  • Rash or hives

PharmaCare BC Smoking Cessation Program

Currently, Nicotine Mouth Spray is not covered under the PharmaCare BC Smoking Cessation Program. Availability and price varies by pharmacy.

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.