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How can the nicotine patch help me quit?

Addiction to nicotine in tobacco is the main reason why people continue to smoke. The patch works by replacing some of the nicotine you would normally inhale from cigarettes. You wear the patch on your skin, where it slowly releases nicotine, which is absorbed into your body through your skin.

Using the patch can help to reduce withdrawal symptoms when you quit, such as cravings, irritability and difficulty concentrating. However, it may not stop these symptoms completely. 

Why may I still have cravings while using the patch?

You may still have cravings while using the patch because:

  • You may not be using it properly. Read using the patch and the product information to avoid common problems.
  • You may not be getting enough nicotine from the patch. Your options include switching from the 16 hour to the 24 hour patch, or using two different nicotine products at the same time. Speak to your pharmacist or doctor, if you think this is a likely cause of your cravings.
  • You have an urge or desire to smoke when you are in situations where you are used to smoking.

Certain things may trigger cravings, such as:

  • Places where you normally smoke, such as home, work, or the pub.
  • People who you usually smoke with, such as family or friends; or being alone.
  • Habits or routines where you are used to smoking, such as when drinking coffee or alcohol, talking on the telephone, after meals, or when you want to relax.
  • emotions, such as anger, boredom, being tense or upset; or for some people, when they are happy.

You need to understand why you smoke in order to plan ways to deal with these situations. To increase your chance of quitting it helps to use a range of coping strategies. Making your home smokefree, avoiding trigger situations where possible in the first few weeks, and getting rid of cigarettes in your home and car are all helpful strategies. Information, advice or support is available for the cost of a local call from the Quitline.

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