Source: Wikipedia

For some people, the decision to quit smoking is a major turning point. If you are a smoker who is trying to quit the habit or know someone who is struggling to do the same, you might know that quitting is not as easy as it sounds. And it is all because of nicotine – the extremely addictive chemical compound found in cigarettes and tobacco.

Nicotine alters your brain chemistry to leave you craving for more. It also makes you experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when your body does not get the amount it previously did.

Some people find that nicotine patches, which are part of Nicotine Replacement Therapy, prove useful, as they ease the transition and make it easier for you to quit smoking.

What are Nicotine Patches?

Nicotine patches look like small, square-sized band-aids that stick to the skin. They help by releasing some amount of nicotine through the skin into your body, thus replacing the amount you would normally receive from a cigarette. Even though you may still get cravings, the nicotine patch takes the edge off. It can help to ease nicotine withdrawal symptoms, like frustration, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, and restlessness when you quit.

How effective are nicotine patches?

The use of nicotine patches in people has proved to be beneficial in people severely dependent on cigarettes.

  • Nicotine patches are effective alternatives for smoking cessation. Several scientific studies have confirmed its effectiveness. It has been registered among the medicines used in smoking cessation.
  • If you are finding it difficult to ignore the morning withdrawal symptoms, the 24-hour patch should offer better protection.
  • The patch diffuses nicotine1 more slowly than tablets or gums, but more steadily throughout the day. This helps relieve mood swings, irritability, craving, difficulty concentrating, the urge to snack, and other inconveniences that are likely to occur in smoking cessation.
  • The biggest advantage of nicotine patches2 is that they can be combined with other drugs and Nicotine Replacement Therapy products. One can wear the patch all day while chewing gum or taking micro tabs. This proves extremely beneficial when the individual experiences a strong craving to smoke right after a meal or between breaks.

The chances of success in your attempt to quit cigarettes are greater if you use the right dose of the nicotine patch for the required duration. You might encounter some side effects after using the patch, but do not let that deviate you from your goal.

Nicotine patches are the most effective when you use them for at least 8-12 weeks. You can either choose to wear a Day Patch or a Day-and-Night Patch. The day patch is a 16-hour patch that is worn only during the day and needs to be taken off before you hit the bed. The day-and-night patch, as the name suggests, is a 24-hour patch you wear during the day and the night. Nicotine patches are easy to use and are available over-the-counter. It takes a few hours for your body to absorb the nicotine and get comfortable with it after you put on the patch.

The Bottom Line

Nicotine patches help you quit smoking/tobacco. Remember, nicotine patches are effective as long as the duration and doses are followed correctly. Moreover, these are merely tools to help you overcome the habit. Once you feel you are ready to quit smoking, reduce the use of the patches so that you do not need to depend on any form of nicotine for the rest of your life.