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Nicotine replacement products: It's OK to double up

A smoldering cigarette within a null sign.

Give smoking the one-two punch

May 30, 2019—Two nicotine replacement products may be better than one, a new study shows. It found that people who combine a nicotine patch with a short-acting nicotine product—such as gum, nasal spray or a lozenge—boost their odds of becoming ex-smokers.

Cutting out cravings

Nicotine replacement products help ease cravings when smokers try to quit. They do that by releasing a small amount of nicotine—without the other dangerous ingredients in cigarettes.

Researchers examined 63 past studies of over 40,000 people who typically smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day.

They found that 17% of those who used a patch and a short-acting product at the same time were able to stop lighting up for at least six months. By comparison, only 14% of those who used a single product stayed smoke-free that long.

Nicotine replacement products are considered safe. And the study found no evidence that using a patch and a short-acting product together adds any risk.

It often takes several tries to stop smoking for good. So if you weren''t successful in the past, this combination approach could be worth a try.

Timing matters

Often, people trying to kick tobacco start by picking a quit date. The study found that using nicotine replacement therapy before your quit date—rather than starting on the actual day—may raise the odds of success. But more data is needed to confirm this, the researchers said.

The study appeared in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Ready to take the plunge? Read up on how to get through your first day as a nonsmoker.

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