Does Wellbutrin make cigarettes taste bad? (+5 approaches)

In this article, we will answer the question ” Does Wellbutrin make cigarettes taste bad? “. We will also discuss the aspects of Wellbutrin to help people quit smoking. Moreover, we will also mention other effective approaches that can be taken in combination with Wellbutrin to ensure the chances of successfully quitting smoking and maintaining a smoke-free life.

Does Wellbutrin make cigarettes taste bad?

Yes, Wellbutrin makes cigarettes taste bad. This is one way that Wellbutrin helps people to quit smoking. When cigarettes taste bad, people are less likely to want to smoke them. Wellbutrin not only helps you to quit smoking but also improves your mental health. 

Wellbutrin, also known as bupropion, is an atypical antidepressant that works on balancing neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine. It’s primarily prescribed to treat depression and seasonal mood disorders. Wellbutrin is now also prescribed for helping with smoking cessation and nicotine withdrawal symptoms. (1)

How does Wellbutrin aid in smoking cessation?

Wellbutrin’s precise mechanism in affecting the taste of cigarettes is not fully understood, but studies have shown that it works in several ways to aid individuals in quitting smoking. Wellbutrin’s mechanisms include: 

  • Alternating neurotransmitter levels: Wellbutrin affects the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. These neurotransmitters regulate mood and pleasure. As a result, Wellbutrin reduces the reinforcing effects of nicotine, making smoking less satisfying and reducing cravings.


  • Reduction of withdrawal symptoms: Wellbutrin helps reduce the withdrawal symptoms associated with nicotine dependence. Withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, anxiety, depressed mood and increased appetite, are alleviated and managed by Wellbutrin.


  • Blocking nicotine receptors: Wellbutrin also works by blocking nicotine receptors. Nicotine from cigarettes binds to these receptors and induces the release of dopamine, which gives a feeling of pleasure and reward. Wellbutrin blocks these nicotine receptors and reduces the rewarding effects of smoking, thus making cigarettes less appealing.


  • Prevention of weight gain: One of the common concerns among people trying to quit smoking is weight gain. Wellbutrin has shown a neutral or even slightly weight-reducing effect. This is very helpful for people worried about gaining weight after quitting smoking.  (2)

What does the research suggest?

Research suggests that Wellbutrin is considered to be a first-line agent as a smoking cessation aid. It can be given alone as monotherapy or combined with Nortriptyline, another effective drug that helps to quit smoking. Studies have shown that Wellbutrin is the drug of choice when given to individuals with depression and trying to quit smoking. Wellbutrin effectively aided in smoking cessation and in enhancing depressive symptoms. (2)

Based on a review that includes 115 studies, Wellbutrin increases the likelihood of successful smoking cessation by 52% to 77%.

These studies also show that Wellbutrin provides long-term support, the current license 7-9 weeks. It provides consistent support to individuals as they help to overcome the challenges of quitting smoking. (4)


What are the factors influencing Wellbutrin’s impact on cigarette taste?

The impact of Wellbutrin on cigarette taste is influenced by several factors, including:

  • Dosage and treatment duration: Higher doses or longer treatment periods might lead to more noticeable changes in the taste of cigarettes.


  • Individual sensitivity: Each person reacts differently to medications. Some individuals are more sensitive to taste changes while others may experience minimal changes.


  • Smoking habits: The frequency and intensity of smoking can affect how Wellbutrin changes the cigarette taste. Heavy smokers would notice more significant changes compared to light smokers.


  • Effects of other medications: Drug-drug interactions between Wellbutrin and other medications, supplements or substances can influence its impact on cigarette taste. It is necessary to inform your doctor about all the medications you are taking.


  • Psychological Factors: Wellbutrin not only affects physical sensations but also psychological factors related to smoking. Wellbutrin decreases the cravings for cigarettes and makes them less appealing.  (2)

What are other approaches to quitting smoking?

Because quitting smoking is challenging, Wellbutrin sometimes might not be enough to provide consistent aid. There are several other approaches and strategies that are used to quit smoking. Here are some of the popular methods (3):

  • Behavioral counseling: It involves working with a therapist to identify triggers for smoking and develop helpful strategies. Behavioral counseling such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help individuals address aspects of addiction to smoking.


  • Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT): This therapy provides controlled amounts of nicotine to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings for smoking while gradually tapering off nicotine. NRT products include patches, lozenges, gums and inhalers. They can be used alone or in combination with Wellbutrin for better results.(4)


  • Other prescription medications: Medications such as varenicline (Chantix), nortriptyline and clonidine can also help reduce withdrawal symptoms and nicotine cravings.


  • Avoiding triggers and stress-reduction techniques: Avoiding triggers that make you want to smoke such as stress, anxiety and social situations. To reduce stress and other triggers, try to be involved in practices such as yoga, mindfulness meditation and deep breathing exercises.


  • Exercise and physical activity: Regular physical activity distracts you from cravings. Moreover, exercise induces the release of endorphins, which help to improve mood and reduce stress. 


In summary, Wellbutrin can make cigarettes taste bad. This is one of the ways that Wellbutrin helps people to quit smoking. Research findings consistently support the efficacy of Wellbutrin in aiding smoking cessation. There are also alternative medications and complementary approaches that can be used along with Wellbutrin to ensure the best outcome.  I strongly suggest you consult your healthcare provider to assess for you the most suitable approach.



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Madden GJ, Kalman D. Effects of bupropion on simulated demand for cigarettes and the subjective effects of smoking. Nicotine Tob Res. 2010 Apr;12(4):416-22


Wilkes S. The use of bupropion SR in cigarette smoking cessation. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2008;3(1):45-53. doi: 10.2147/copd.s1121. PMID: 18488428; PMCID: PMC2528204.,reuptake%20within%20the%20synaptic%20cleft.


Engstrom PF, Clapper ML, Schnoll RA. Approaches for Smoking Cessation. In: Kufe DW, Pollock RE, Weichselbaum RR, et al., editors. Holland-Frei Cancer Medicine. 6th edition. Hamilton (ON): BC Decker


Howes S, Hartmann-Boyce J, Livingstone-Banks J, Hong B, Lindson N. Antidepressants for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 Apr 22;4(4):CD000031. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD000031.pub5

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