Stop Smoking

Stop Smoking

At the Painswick Pharmacy we have two, friendly non-judgemental, NHS Stop Smoking Advisers who have successfully helped many people to improve their lives by quitting smoking.

We offer free one-to-one support over 12 weeks, along with stop smoking medicines, which are available for the cost of a prescription. We can arrange a pre-payment for you so the maximum you will pay is £29.10 for the whole 12 week course. If you don’t pay for prescriptions, it is completely free.

Stop smoking with Painswick PharmacyResearch (by the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training) has found the methods used by the NHS Stop Smoking Service are the most effective way to quit in the long term compared to other methods such as: going ‘cold turkey’; hypnotherapy; acupuncture; and using nicotine replacement without behavioural support.

Our approach is to work with you to offer the support you need, as well as the right medication for you, to help you quit. A bespoke support package designed to suit you is beneficial because every smoker is different and no one knows your smoking habit better than yourself.

During your first face-to-face consultation, which lasts 20-30 minutes, we assess your smoking style and dependence on nicotine. We then decide together which stop smoking medication (if any) would best suit your needs. If you choose Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) we can supply your chosen products straight away as we keep several in stock. You can even use two NRT products at the same time!

For instance, a Nicorette Invisi or NiQuitin Clear patch can be worn for a regular release of nicotine and then a Nicorette Inhalator (or other product of your choosing) can be used at the same time, for extra help with cravings. We can also supply: Nicorette QuickMist mouthsprays; Nicorette Icy White and Freshmint gum; and NiQuitin Minis lozenges. All are kept in stock!

If you decided Varenicline (Champix) is for you, we can send a request to your Doctor for a prescription. If approved, your medication can usually be collected a few days later.

More information on Champix and Nicotine Replacement Therapy can be found below.

After the first consultation we like to see you on a weekly or fortnightly basis for advice, support and to provide ongoing medication – these appointments usually last 10-15 minutes.

If you have quit with us before you are more than welcome to come back. We understand that sometimes it can take more than one attempt to be smokefree for good.

Please make an appointment for a free consultation.

We are very lucky in Gloucestershire to have an award winning NHS Stop Smoking Service. Please see the website for more information and additional sources of support:

The following information has been taken from the Gloucestershire Stop Smoking Service website:

Stop Smoking Medications

Stop smoking medications work by reducing cravings – Smoking a cigarette regularly over a long period of time means your body becomes dependent on nicotine. When you stop smoking, you can experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms like cravings, headaches, feeling irritable and having trouble sleeping. Stop smoking medicines can help reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms

It gives you the best chance of success – The evidence shows that by using medications it can help quitting smoking in the long term. It is a personal choice though and you don’t have to use medication to use our service.

Cost effective – They are available from the NHS on a prescription so it can mean you save you up to £80 compared to buying it over the counter. It is completely free if you are exempt from paying for your prescriptions.

Below is a brief description of what we can offer.

Varenicline (Champix)

champixVarenicline (Champix) is a tablet that helps you stop smoking by ‘copying’ some of the effects of nicotine from cigarettes. You smoke on Varenicline and then set a quit date around two weeks from starting the medication. It aims to reduce withdrawal symptoms, including urges to smoking. The medication is most effective if taken for 12 weeks. It isn’t a wonder drug. The magic ingredient is a good reason and motivation to stop smoking.

Pros – It is an effective drug (52% success rate at 4 weeks). It is a tablet you only have to take once in the morning and evening. It can help reduce the cravings whilst being around people who are smoking.

Cons – Varenicline is issued in two week courses for 12 weeks so you need to be available to visit your Stop Smoking Adviser fairly regularly over the 12 week course. The main side effects of Varenicline can be nausea, sleep disturbance and headaches.


Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) gives you some of the nicotine you get from cigarettes, without the harmful stuff like tar, cyanide and carbon monoxide. NRT has been used by millions of smokers to help them stop. A full course lasts for 12 weeks which gives you the best chance of long term success. We would normally recommend using two nicotine products e.g. a patch and an oral product.

Pros – NRT works in a very simple way i.e. gives you pure nicotine. It is safe to use and has been used by millions of people for years. It has a similar success rate to Varenicline (50% success rate at 4 weeks).

Cons – The more nicotine dependent you are the more you may have to use. A common mistake is for people to forget their oral products which can increase likelihood of relapse. Nicotine doesn’t particularly taste nice however it is a medication and not confectionery!


nicorette_patchesNicotine patches release a steady dose of nicotine into your body and act as a safety net preventing your nicotine levels dropping too low which may result in nicotine withdrawal.

  • Apply just once a day
  • Choose from 16 hour and 24 hour types
  • Releases a steady dose of nicotine through the skin

Pros – Patches give you a steady release of nicotine through the day and/or night. Once it is on your body then you don’t have to worry about it.

Cons – It can make your skin itch which is perfectly normal. If you have sensitive skin or a skin condition (e.g. psoriasis or eczema) then they may react more severely.


niquitinLozenges should be parked to the side of your mouth (between your gum and your cheek) and nicotine is absorbed through the lining of your mouth.

Pros – There are three different size lozenges that can be offered to find the best fit for you. Can be discreet and are fairly palatable (Cools, Minis and Regular Lozenges).

Cons – It takes up to 15 minutes to get an amount of nicotine in the system to dull a craving. You may need up to 15 lozenges a day, depending on nicotine dependence, which means that you need to ensure they are with you at all times. If you suck on the lozenge like a sweet they will give you heartburn and hiccups.


inhalatorsTests have shown the inhalator to be just as effective at delivering nicotine to the brain as E-cigarettes. You can further increase its effectiveness by using it in combination with a patch and at just £29.10 for a 12 week supply of patches and inhalator cartridges or free if you don’t pay prescriptions, it’s a great way of helping to deal with the habits around having something to hold in your hand.

  • Nicotine vapour is absorbed through your mouth and throat
  • Replace nicotine in a way that mimics the act of smoking

Pros – It is like a fake cigarette so can help with that ‘hand to mouth action’.

Cons – It doesn’t give you the same hit as a cigarette. Many people try to also use it like a cigarette which leads to coughing and hiccups (you need to draw it through your teeth).


Ninicorette_gumcotine gum provides relief from cravings by supplying nicotine through the lining of the mouth. The gum provides fast effective relief to be used as and when cravings strike or it may be used to prevent cravings by using it regularly throughout the day. The gum also helps to leave your breath feeling clean and fresh.

Pros – You can control the dose depending on the amount you feel that you need. Some people like to occupy their mouths when quitting, gum offers the perfect distraction.

Cons – The gum may cause issues if you have dentures.


nicorette_sprayNasal or mouth sprays are an excellent choice if you need quick relief from cravings. They are particularly favoured by heavy smokers as they can relieve your cravings in as little as 60 seconds.

Delivers nicotine through the lining of your nose or mouth

Fairly high dose delivered quickly

Effective when faced with a strong craving

Pros – Both sprays deliver a quick dose of nicotine to give you a ‘hit’ similar to a cigarette. This means it can dull any cravings quickly and effectively.

Cons – Both sprays are strong and so can be hard to get used to spraying into your mouth or nose. The mouth spray also has a childproof lock that can be hard to get into. There is a potential with both sprays to swallow the nicotine which can lead to hiccups.

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