Champix Alternatives

Champix is a clinically proven stop smoking method that’s prescribed to many people, but there are other supports to help smokers quit the habit. These range from prescription medicines through to natural remedies. The best treatment for you will depend on your medical history and age.

Prescription treatments

Giving up smoking is hard, but prescription medicines can make it easier. An alternative to Champix is Zyban.
Zyban uses the active ingredient bupropion which was first used as an antidepressant. It works by changing the way the brain reacts to addiction. Users take up to two tablets a day at least a week in advance of their quit date. A course of Zyban lasts seven to nine weeks.
Zyban can produce side effects in some people including headaches, dry mouth, nausea, constipation, problems concentrating and insomnia. It’s not suitable for those under the age of 18, people who have bipolar disorder, eating disorders, mental health issues or pregnant women.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

Nicotine replacement therapy can be bought directly from a pharmacy or on prescription from your doctor or Stop Smoking service. It is usually cheaper to purchase NRT on prescription.

Nicotine replacement therapies enable you to cut down on your smoking habit instead of quitting cold turkey. A craving for nicotine is the main reason most people cannot give up smoking. Replacement therapies provide increasingly smaller amounts of nicotine to help you cut down and eventually quit. They are very useful stop smoking aids because they provide nicotine but do not contain the tar and chemicals in traditional cigarettes.

NRTs are available as:

  • Patches
  • Inhalers
  • Chewing gum
  • Tablets
  • Mouth and nasal spray

Patches are most effective at releasing nicotine slowly so the background cravings are reduced. Some quitters use a spray or gum as well to deal with sudden, strong cravings. It takes approximately 12 weeks on NRT before you can quit.

E-cigarettes ‘Vaping’

E-cigs are a relatively new concept. They are a type of nicotine replacement therapy, but not available on prescription yet.
Electronic cigarettes work by heating a canister of nicotine to produce a vapour. The user then inhales the vapour. E-cigarettes do not contain tar or traditional cigarette chemicals but do contain flavourings, which are not medically tested yet.

Natural remedies


Hypnotherapy may be a natural way of dealing with addiction. Hypnotherapists help people to break habits using an altered state of consciousness.

Hypnotherapy may have an effect on some people, but there are no medically proven cases for or against.
Be aware that there are no regulations around hypnotherapists in the UK. Speak to your doctor if you want to try hypnotherapy as they may be able to recommend a trained professional working the medical industry.


Having good support is a huge boost for quitters. You are more likely to quit if you’re encouraged, helped and given information. The Stop Smoking service is well-respected and delivered free of charge by the NHS.

Cold Turkey

Going cold turkey means to quit smoking without any drugs or replacement therapies to help you. It is possible if your willpower is strong, but not many people are able to quit this way.