Free nicotine replacement therapy from the HSE

January is a popular time for people to try to stop smoking. Many try to quit alone without supports and therapies that can give the best chance of quitting, such as stop smoking medications. The HSE is here to help you quit by providing free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) along with other tried and tested supports.

Dr Paul Kavanagh, HSE Public Health Medicine Consultant Lead with the Tobacco Free Ireland Programme, explains how NRT is safe and effective: “NRT are tightly regulated medicinal products which are overseen by the Health Products Regulatory Agency (HPRA) in Ireland. We know NRT is very safe and that it works. It is encouraging to see that more people who smoke are using NRT to help them quit. We have been working hard to improve access and availability of this life-saving medicine. People who smoke and who want to stop, and healthcare professionals who are supporting them, can have full trust and confidence in the safety and effectiveness of NRT.

“Some people who smoke will be wondering about using an e-cigarette or vapes to help them stop. We do not have full trust and confidence in the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a way to stop smoking and recommend NRT as way to help them through their quit attempt.”

Martina Blake, National Lead, HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme, says: “You are five times more likely to quit for good if you stop smoking for 28 days, and the hardest piece of this process is making the decision to quit in the first place. Our staff can help you assess your daily routine and smoking pattern. They will help to build your confidence and motivation, assess your nicotine dependence through a simple breath test and then arrange free medication for you. They will contact you regularly over a 12-month period to keep you on track for long term success. If you slip up along the way, there is no judgment. We are here to help you achieve your quitting goal.

“Over the last few years we’ve seen a growing prevalence of “dual use” with smokers using e-cigarette or vapes for short periods or in spaces where it is not possible to light up a cigarette. Our team are available to support with this new issue of “dual use” and if you wish to quit both smoking and vaping, you can contact our services.”

Quit supports available

HSE Quit services are free and available all year round. The Quit service provides personalised, evidence-based plans, tailored to your needs, using any combination of the support options:

an online-personalised Quit plan where you can track your progress; face to face and group support from local community based services; text message or phone support from the Freephone Quitline 1800 201 203; a free Quit Kit to help you prepare; free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and advice on how to use it and daily tips and support from people who have quit and who are trying to quit on the You Can Quit Facebook page.