If you need evidence of just how addictive cigarette smoking can be, you need look no further than the gigantic industry that has developed to make products that help people quit.
In 2021, $20 billion was spent on "smoking cessation and nicotine de-addiction products" — the official name given to the gums, lozenges, patches and inhalers millions of people rely on every day. That's expected to hit over $54 billion by 2031.
With that kind of market, you better believe lots of companies are getting in the game, which makes it difficult to know which option is best for you. Many people will turn to inhalers because they mimic the act of smoking while helping you quit cigarettes. But do they work?
Below, we go over several options if you're looking for the best inhalers to stop smoking. Let's dive in.
At a glance:
MELO Air / Plus & ZERO / ZERO Max
Right off the bat, we have to mention that none of MELO Air and ZERO's offerings contain nicotine — a huge plus, since one of your biggest obstacles when quitting smoking is breaking your addiction to nicotine. You also won't find any harmful ingredients sometimes included in other diffusers, like propylene glycol or vitamin E acetate.
What you will find is flavor. And lots of it! ZERO features flavors like Arctic Peach, Green Punch, Heaven, Jolly Berries, and Magic Mint, while MELO offers flavors like Lavender Dream, Banana, Gummy Bear and Cotton Candy.
MELO Air is a melatonin diffuser, which means it replaces nicotine with melatonin, a natural hormone found in your body. ZERO is nothing more than “flavored air” — no additives of any kind other than flavoring. Both MELO and ZERO come in two sizes — regular and Plus. The regular should last for around 400 inhales, while the Plus size should be good for around 800.
We've discussed both of these options as great alternatives to cigarettes — and to nicotine vapes — a few times, and we still think they’re among your best options for inhalers to stop smoking. Are we a bit biased? Sure. But keep a few things in mind …
First, MELO and ZERO do not require any kind of prescription, like other options do. That means no trips to the doctor to "see if you qualify." You can order a MELO or ZERO device today and have it in your hands in just a few days. No doctor's note required.
Second, as mentioned above, neither MELO nor ZERO are nicotine inhalers. This is a big advantage for both products, because quitting smoking is about quitting two addictions — one behavioral addiction, and one chemical addiction. (See below for a deeper explanation on this.)
MELO and ZERO help you break at least one of these — the chemical addiction to nicotine. Some other products on this list won't help you break either of them.
Finally, MELO actually contains functional ingredients that can help you quit. Melatonin is well known as a calming hormone. So it stands to reason that as one of our best melatonin vapes, it can help calm your mind and body and take the edge off any withdrawal symptoms you may be suffering from. Want to know more? Check out our articles Do Melatonin Vapes Work? and Best Vape Alternative to Help You Quit.
Finally, MELO works fast. Just as a cigarette delivers an almost instantaneous hit of nicotine, MELO delivers a nearly instant dose of melatonin, which means it starts working faster. You can read what others think in our Melatonin Diffuser Reviews here.
A Nicotine Vape or Nicotine Inhaler
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of disposable and refillable nicotine-containing vapes on the market, so we won't focus on a particular nicotine inhaler here. They're all very similar, which means if you want to go this route, taste is probably going to be the deciding factor.
But a quick note before you start shopping around for a nicotine inhaler: Consider why you want to stop smoking. If your goal is to be free from a nicotine addiction, a nicotine inhaler certainly isn't going to help you.
That's one of the reasons we recommend products like MELO Air or ZERO — they actually help wean you off of nicotine. If that addiction isn't broken, it's too easy to slip right back into your smoking habit. (See more on the dangers of choosing vapes with nicotine below.)
QuitGo is an interesting product. There are no batteries, cartridges, or "juice.” Instead, there's what the makers of QuitGo call "a proprietary breathable air filter to provide satisfaction without tobacco, nicotine, smoke or vapor.” In essence, what you're doing with QuitGo is inhaling the surrounding air. But because that would be kind of pointless, that air passes through a flavored filter first.
One of the plusses of QuitGo is the fact that absolutely nothing is produced, which means no vapor "exhaust," and certainly no smoke. That theoretically makes it usable just about anywhere, because you're simply inhaling and exhaling flavored/scented air.
QuitGo also likes to point out that it's the only quit smoking aid that features a soft, chewable tip. Presumably, this helps to increase its effectiveness at curbing oral fixation cravings.
Beyond those mechanics, QuitGo certainly does resemble a cigarette, which can be a plus or minus depending on your preference, and comes in four flavors — Oxygen, Menthol, Fresh Mint and Cinnamon.
The company says that QuitGo should last 3-4 weeks (or more) depending on how often you use it. You could use it forever if you like, but eventually the filter is going to lose its flavor, or the tip is going to get chewed to pieces, and you'll have to get a replacement or two.
QuitGo is widely available in many drug stores, supermarkets and "big box" stores, or you can order it here from their website.
Nicorette has been a pioneer in smoking cessation and nicotine replacement medicine for years. They were among the first to develop and market nicotine replacement therapy products like nicotine gum, nicotine lozenges, nicotine patches and, in at least some parts of the world, a nicotine inhaler.
Though you won't find it in the U.S., you can find the Nicorette inhaler in stores in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and other countries outside America. If you're from a country where it's available, the rest of this section is for you. If you're in the U.S., skip this section and scroll on down.
The Nicorette inhaler looks and acts like many other e-cigarettes, so it won't be unfamiliar to you if you're used to similar products. It comes with a mouthpiece and replaceable cartridges, each of which contains 15mg of nicotine. Each cartridge should last for approximately 40 minutes of puffing.
Nicorette recommends a plan that slowly weans you off of both nicotine and the inhaler over approximately six months. In terms of availability, you should be able to find it in most drugstores.
Available by prescription only, the Nicotrol Inhaler (it's officially known as a nicotine inhalation system) from Pfizer looks like a traditional vape pen or e-cigarette, and contains two pieces — a mouthpiece and a plastic cartridge that holds the nicotine. The cartridges deliver 4 mg of nicotine.
Approved by the Food and Drug Administration back in 1997 as a smoking cessation device, and proven in clinical trials to help people quit smoking at least in the short term, Pfizer recently announced that it would stop manufacturing the device. Once current inventory is sold out, which Pfizer says will probably happen by late summer or fall 2023, you won't be able to find it.
In the meantime, if you're interested in trying to get it while you can, you can learn more about it here on their website.
(Note: One of the reasons for including this product here is to warn you about potential counterfeit devices. Pfizer has warned that some bad actors are attempting to pass off bogus inhalers as the Nicotrol device. Consider yourself warned.)
Do Inhalers Really Help You Stop Smoking?
We've covered a number of different inhaler options here, most of which have “stop smoking” as either a direct or secondary “side effect” of use.
But will they? Perhaps. Some of the inhalers mentioned here, and dozens of others like them, do mimic the hand-to-mouth motions of cigarette smoking. But do you know what else they do? They deliver nicotine. And that's a problem, because at the end of the day, to stop smoking completely, you have to break two addictions.
First is your behavioral addiction to the "ceremony" of smoking — lighting up, bringing the cigarette to your mouth, inhaling, exhaling, repeat.
Over perhaps years (or however long you've been smoking) the repetitive hand-to-mouth action of smoking becomes hardwired into your brain and leads to cigarette cravings. This behavioral addiction is often referred to as "hand-to-mouth." Don't discount how hard this part of quitting is going to be.
Then there's your chemical addiction to nicotine, which is what causes all those nasty withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop. To truly quit, you have to "break" both of these. And an inhaler that contains nicotine does not help with that. It simply transfers both addictions from a cigarette to an inhaler.
That’s something to think about when you decide which products to try, and one of the big reasons why we believe products like MELO Air and ZERO should be among your first options.
Congratulations on Deciding to Stop Smoking! You Can Do it!
Quitting smoking isn't easy. No doubt about it. But if millions of others have done it, so can you. Give the products here a try — in particular MELO Air and ZERO, of course! — to help you conquer your withdrawal symptoms and stay smoke free for good.