Smoking cessation support
Starting a discussion with your clients who smoke ensures consistent messaging across all health professions about the impact of smoking on your client’s health and the risk to long-term health impacts.
Types of NRT
Used properly, NRT can make a big difference in helping people to stop smoking successfully. There are videos that help to explain how to use the different forms of NRT.
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
Health professionals should check for updated Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listings.
- Nicotine patches (eg 25 mg/16 hours, 15 mg/16 hours, 5 mg/16 hours, 21 mg/24 hours, 14 mg/24 hours, 7 mg/24 hours) are listed on the PBS for use as an aid to quitting for people who participate in a support and counselling program. The subsidised patches are not available at the same time as other PBS-subsidised smoking cessation therapies (ie varenicline, bupropion), but those who are unsuccessful at quitting using the nicotine patches are able to access PBS-subsidised medicines during that same 12-month period.
- Oral forms of NRT subsidised on the PBS are gum and lozenges for use as the sole PBS-subsidised therapy.
- This means combination NRT is not currently PBS subsidised.
- Under PBS rules, a maximum 12 weeks of PBS-subsidised.
- NRT is available per 12-month period.
- All forms of NRT are available over the counter in pharmacies and supermarkets in Australia.
NRT in pregnancy
- NRT products are still safer than smoking. When used correctly they have less nicotine than tobacco, plus they don’t contain the harmful, cancer-causing substances found in tobacco smoke.
- If your client is pregnant, the preferred approach is intermittent (non-regular) use of oral NRT products such as nicotine gum or lozenges, as you can control the dose.
- The effect of NRT in pregnancy is not well understood. There may still be risks associated with this quit method, but it is a much safer option compared to continued smoking.
To protect the mother and their baby, the priority should be to avoid the damaging chemicals found in tobacco smoke by quitting smoking.
NRT when breastfeeding
If you’re client is breastfeeding, the woman might be wondering whether NRT products will have an effect on their baby.
- Nicotine from smoking or NRT can be passed on through breast milk.
- If the woman is finding it hard to quit smoking using other methods, NRT will still be a better option compared to continued smoking.
Quit for you, quit for two
The Quit for You – Quit for Two App is specifically designed to help people who are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, and want to quit smoking.
It helps take your mind off the cravings with fun exercises and games and distract you when you get the urge to light up. The App includes:
- quit tips on dealing with cravings
- bouncing baby game
- baby boogie game
- baby bubble game
- baby name selector
- breathing yoga exerciser
- week-by-week facts about your baby’s development
- daily savings announcements based on money not spent on smoking.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) screening breath test (commonly called a smokerlyzer) is a good tool to use with clients who smoke. The smokerlyzer can detect if clients have been exposed to unsafe levels of CO from smoke or other sources, including faulty cooking and heating appliances.
More information is available on how to use a smokerzlyer: