If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line or call 911: 1-800-273-8255, press 1 or Text 83825

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

Products like nicotine gum and patches give you low doses of nicotine to replace the nicotine you were getting from tobacco products like cigarettes or smokeless tobacco. NRT can help with nicotine withdrawal and lessen your urge to use tobacco.

Some nicotine replacement therapy options are available over-the-counter but if you are covered by TRICARE, you can get them for free. Make sure you check with your military treatment facility (MTF) pharmacy or the TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery to see which NRT options are available. To get NRT for free, you must get a prescription from your provider for an available NRT medication and fill it using your MTF pharmacy or the TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery.

When you are using NRT remember to:

  • Follow the instructions provided with your NRT.
  • Use the full amount of NRT suggested in the instructions or by your health care provider so that it effectively replaces the nicotine you gave up.
  • As you keep using NRT, you will slowly use less and less NRT. Follow the schedule given to you by your health care provider or pharmacist.
  • Be patient. Using NRT correctly can take time.
  • Don’t mix tobacco and NRT – combining them can make you feel sick. If you do slip up and use tobacco once you have started your NRT, you don’t need to give up. Stop using tobacco and keep using your NRT.
  • NRT contains nicotine, which can be harmful to children and pets. Keep your NRT away from children and pets.

Important: Use all medications exactly as they are prescribed for you. Do not use medications in larger amounts or for longer than recommended by your health care provider. Be sure to tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines including anything over-the-counter. Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children and pets. Take note, the content on this site reflects general information about tobacco cessation medications and is not a substitute for the advice of a medical provider, nurse or pharmacist. You should always talk with your health care provider about which medication is right for you and your situation, especially if you are on Active Duty. Some medications may have restrictive use depending on military occupation and status.

Scroll over the NRTs below to learn more.



Removable nicotine patches stick to your skin and release a constant amount of nicotine into the body.

  • You wear the patch on your upper body and change it daily. The patch is worn for 24 hours.
  • Patches come in different doses or amounts of nicotine. The higher the dose, the more nicotine it will provide. The amounts are 7 mg, 14 mg and 21 mg.
  • Over time you’ll gradually switch to a lower strength nicotine patch, until you are nicotine free. The process usually takes 8-10 weeks depending on what is recommended by your health care provider.

Some side effects may include:

  • Skin irritation
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Muscle aches
  • Dizziness

Get more information on NRT patches.



Nicotine gum delivers nicotine quickly to help reduce cravings for tobacco.

  • Nicotine gum comes in different doses based on how much tobacco you use. The gum comes in 2 mg and 4 mg doses. If you use tobacco 30 minutes or less after you wake up, you will probably start with the 4 mg dose. If it’s more than 30 minutes, you will probably start off with 2 mg. Check with your provider or pharmacist.
  • You’ll chew a piece of gum a few times to break it down (stop chewing when you feel a tingling sensation, or it tastes peppery), then “park” it between your gum and cheek and leave it there. Start chewing again when the tingle goes away and then “park” it again. You’ll continue this until there is no tingle when you chew (about 20-30 minutes).
  • After a few weeks you’ll start to chew fewer pieces each day; chewing only what you need to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your provider or pharmacist to determine the right schedule based on your tobacco use. Generally, you use the gum for up to 12 weeks.
  • One piece of gum is one dose and you should never chew more than 24 pieces a day.
  • Don’t forget: No eating or drinking for 15 minutes before or while chewing the gum.

Some side effects may include:

  • Sore mouth or throat
  • Achy jaw
  • Increased saliva
  • Hiccups
  • Indigestion or heartburn

If you’re not using the correct chewing method, you could also have:

  • Dizziness, headache, nausea
  • Throat and mouth irritation

Get more information on nicotine gum.



A nicotine lozenge is a hard candy that gives you nicotine as it melts in your mouth.

  • Nicotine lozenges come in different doses based on how much tobacco you use. The lozenges come in 2 mg and 4 mg doses. If you use tobacco 30 minutes or less after you wake up, you will probably start with the 4 mg dose. If it’s more than 30 minutes, you will probably start off with 2 mg. Check with your provider or pharmacist.
  • Each lozenge will last about 20-30 minutes (for the standard size) and 10 minutes (for the mini size), and you will keep getting some nicotine for a short time even after the lozenge is gone.
  • After a few weeks, you’ll start to use fewer lozenges each day; using only what you need to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your provider or pharmacist to determine the right schedule based on your tobacco use. Generally, you use the lozenges for up to 12 weeks.
  • One lozenge is one dose. You should not have more than 20 lozenges a day.
  • Don’t forget: No eating or drinking for 15 minutes before or while using the lozenge.

Some side effects may include:

  • Nausea
  • Hiccups
  • Cough
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Headache
  • Gas
  • Trouble sleeping

Get more information on nicotine lozenges.



A nicotine inhaler delivers nicotine when you puff on it. This is a prescription medication so use as prescribed, but some general guidelines are:

  • Use the inhaler when you have a craving for tobacco.
  • Follow the product directions. Talk to your provider about how many cartridges you should be using in a day.
  • Don’t forget: No eating or drinking for 15 minutes before using or while using the inhaler.

Some side effects may include:

  • Throat and mouth irritation
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Sinus pressure and pain
  • Hiccups
  • Upset stomach
  • Gas

Get more information on the nicotine inhaler.



Nicotine nasal spray eases cravings for tobacco quickly. This is a prescription medication so use as prescribed, but some general guidelines are:

  • How often you use the spray depends on your nicotine dependence and cravings.
  • A usual single dose is two sprays; one in each nostril.
  • Do not take more than five doses per hour or 40 doses in a day.
  • Follow the product directions. Talk to your provider about how many sprays you should be using in a day.

Some side effects may include:

  • Nose and throat irritation
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Hiccups

Get more information on the nicotine spray.




If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line or call 911: 1-800-273-8255, press 1 or Text 83825