One of the most popular aides in quitting smoking are nicotine patches. This is because as the name clearly states,it is a nicotine product. Given that withdraw symptoms are mainly caused from the effects of nicotine withdraw, a nicotine patch can help. The key to the successful use of these patches is knowing how they work and how to use them effectively.
Many people want to quit smoking but do not manage to. This is obviously extremely frustrating for the individuals that try to quit. It is calculated that some 70% of smokers actually want to quit the habit. They want to stop smoking but do not know how or if they can mange. Some try and fail. Other try and succeed. So lets have a look at what those who succeeded did. Whilst a few manage to quit smoking cold turkey and without any aides, a large number of people use help to cure themselves from this deadly addiction. This is where nicotine replacement therapies come into action. A nicotine patch is a proven effective nicotine replacement therapy.
Nicotine patches are one of the five main nicotine replacement treatments. The other four being nicotine gum, lozenges, inhalers, and nasal sprays. You can use nicotine patches as part of your quit plan. What the nicotine patch does is release a controlled and measured dose of nicotine into your body through your skin. This can help control the effect of nicotine withdrawal symptoms. In fact research has shown that patches can actually help some people in their quest to quit smoking.
So what is a nicotine patch
Nicotine patches can be obtained over the counter in many countries, including the US. There are different brands of nicotine patches. On average there are two types of nicotine patches. These two differ from each other on the basis of the duration of the nicotine dosage. The 16-hour patches are targeted to be used by low and average smokers. Given they are used for 16 hours they are not worn overnight. This means that nicotine levels will drop substantially during the night and the uses can have morning cigarette cravings. On the plus side they have far lower side effects.
On the other hand the 24-hour patches are more powerful. Given that they are 24 hour patches means that they keep the nicotine dosage going even whilst your are asleep and obviously help you counter morning cigarette cravings. The flip side is that you have a greater chance of side effects using these rather than the 16-hour ones.
How do you use a nicotine patch
Let’s start with what nicotine patches look like. Basically a nicotine patch looks very much like an adhesive bandage. The bigger patches usually have bigger nicotine doses. You should apply the nicotine patch in the morning (maybe after showering). Apply it on a clean, dry and hairless part of your body. The patch should be applied on the upper side of your body, between the head and the waist. Many choose to apply it on the upper part of their arm. It is advisable to switch and change the location of the patch every day to decrease the chances of causing skin irritation.
You need to leave the patch the duration of dosage period. Do not remove the patch during this period. It will take around three hours for it to start having an effect. This is until the nicotine starts to transfer from the patch int the skin and then into the bloodstream. Unlike cigarettes which give a burst of nicotine, the patches release nicotine in a slow manner. Whilst this helps in keeping nicotine levels constant, it’s slow release process makes it inappropriate as a product to counter those moments of craving. Other nicotine replacement products can be used to counter craving strikes.
It is important to use the patches wisely and fit them inside your quit plan, Patches are usually used during the first two months and split in three stages. The first stage takes your through the first month. During this stage you will wear a nicotine patch that offers a strong dose, linked to the number of cigarettes you smoke. In the next two weeks you would switch to a moderate dose, thus decreasing the amount of nicotine. Finally for the last two weeks you would use a low dosage patch.
There are some known side effects of nicotine patches and you should always read the well the information inside the package. These side effects include skin irritation under the patch, especially when one uses the 24 hour patches. Numbers show that some fifty percent of users will have some form of skin irritation from using the patches. As mentioned earlier, using a different location will help decrease this. If this does not help try switching brands as well. Some users of 24 hour patches have been known to have insomnia and other sleep disorders. If these symptoms persist after three days of usage it is recommended to switch to 16 hour patches that do not release nicotine whilst sleeping.
Some users have also been reported to have had a raised heartbeat and dressiness. Switching to a lower dosage can counter this. Furthermore anyone with a particular medical history or has a heart condition should only use the products after seeking the advise of a medical practitioner. Some other nasty known side effects include headache, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting.
Given that you would be taking nicotine through the patches it is important that you do not smoke as well whilst you are using the patches. Smoking concurrently with the patches may overload you body with nicotine and can actually cause nicotine poisoning. This would include many of the side effects just mentioned.
There is no one remedy to quit smoking. You can quit smoking using a multiple of solutions. Nicotine patches are one of the tools you can and should use to quit the habit. This should be part of your quit plan. Knowing the ups and downs of every tool that you will use will make this battle more manageable. Quitting is not easy but it can be done. You can do it. Just plan it and execute it one step at a time.
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