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Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Along with counseling, the Illinois Tobacco Quitline offers up to six weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to enrolled clients who are over 18 years of age, medically eligible (i.e., not pregnant, no heart conditions), and uninsured or have limited coverage. The amount of NRT made available to ITQL clients is dependent upon funding levels, but currently includes multiple weeks of patches. Used in combination with tobacco cessation counseling, NRT can provide the extra help you need to succeed.

Smoking is not recommend while using the patch.

A nicotine patch provides a safer, clean source of nicotine to enter the body slowly and in lower concentrations than cigarettes, satisfying your nicotine addiction so you can work on breaking the psychological part of your smoking habit.

The full course of nicotine patch treatment:

  • 21mg patch for 4 - 6 weeks
  • 14mg patch for the next two weeks
  • 7mg patch for final two weeks

During the last week, the 7mg patch is tapered off by reducing the hours it’s worn each day down to zero.

  • Smoking is not allowed while using the patch. Ask a doctor first before using a patch if pregnant or have other health issues.



There are many over-the-counter brands of nicotine gum in 2mg and 4mg doses. It is a hard-coated gum that is chewed by first breaking the coating, chewing for a few moments, and when a peppery taste is noticed, stop chewing and place it between the cheek and gum. Chew again when the tingling goes away.

Each piece lasts about 30 minutes. Constant chewing by not following directions can cause nausea and hiccups.


Nicotine inhalers are only available by prescription and are plastic tubes that a cartridge of nicotine goes into. When punctured, the nicotine dose is inhaled like taking a cigarette.

The cartridge is a 4mg dose. Six of them can be used daily to start, then tapering off the farther into the quitting process you are.

Advantages of inhalers are the same hand-to-mouth motion as smoking and fast delivery of nicotine into the system. Those suffering from COPD cannot use inhalers.


Similar to a mint, the dissolving lozenge distributes nicotine into the body. They come in many flavors and in 2mg and 4mg doses.

If you typically would smoke within 30 minutes of getting up, it is recommended to use the 4mg dose. Use the 2mg dose if you do not. Each lozenge averages about 30 minutes to dissolve in the mouth.


Zyban and Wellbutrin are brand names for bupropion hydrochloride, a medication to treat depression. The chemical in bupropion hydrochloride has been found to help people manage cravings when trying to quit smoking.

Both brands can be used with nicotine patches or gum.

Chantix is the brand name for varenicline tartrate, which blocks receptors in the brain so there is very little effect from nicotine if you continue to smoke. For a week after starting, you are allowed to smoke to build up the medication in your system before actually quitting.



Prescription medication must be used the right way so you can quit for good. When you call the Quitline, we make sure you are correctly using your medication and verify that with you each time you call.

When using nicotine replacement products, you have to match up the amount of nicotine that your body is receiving each day with the milligram dosage of the nicotine replacement product. The Quitline helps you determine the dose to take so your body is not shocked by the lack of nicotine it receives.


Illinois Tobacco Quitline

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