Nicotine Patches are adhesive plastic patches that you stick to your skin to provide your body with a regular supply of nicotine.
Nicotine is highly addictive and is the main cause of the cravings associated with smoking cessation. Nicotine patches help you to break the habit of smoking tobacco whilst supplying nicotine to your body, which lessens the nicotine withdrawal symptoms. When you are ready, you can gradually reduce the dosage of your patches or remove them altogether.
Nicotine patches are available via prescription from your doctor (in the UK) or you can purchase them over-the-counter in most pharmacies.
When choosing which type of nicotine patch to use, there are two main things to look out for:
- Whether the patch is 16 hour or 24 hour
- The dosage of nicotine the patch provides (in milligrams – mg)
16-hour patches are designed to be used during the daytime and removed at night, whilst 24 hour patches are designed to be worn constantly (even when you are sleeping). Given the choice, it is recommended to use 24 hour patches because you can always remove them when you go to bed (just like a 16-hour patch).
The dosage of nicotine supplied to your body varies between different products but is usually between 5mg and 25mg. If you smoke more than 10 cigarettes each day, it is recommended that you get the highest strength nicotine patch available and gradually move to lower strengths over time.
Popular brands include NiQuitin, Nicorette and Nicotinell