Health Q&A

NOV 26

November 27, 2001

Health Q&A

Smoking cessation


Q: If I want to quit smoking, are the patches helpful?

A: The patches certainly can be helpful to quit smoking. The purpose of the patch is to relieve some of the withdrawal symptoms that can be experienced when quitting smoking.

The nicotine patch releases a constant amount of nicotine, dissolving right through the skin and entering the body. Larger patch sizes deliver more nicotine into the body but less than a pack of cigarettes. And the patch does not contain the tars and poisonous gases that are found in cigarettes.

According to the American Lung Association, studies have shown that it is much easier to give up the patch than to give up cigarettes.


There are two reasons for this. First, people usually develop cravings for things that provide immediate satisfaction, such as chocolate. Your nicotine level with the patch stays fairly constant from day to day, so there is little craving since there is no immediate satisfaction. Secondly, something that is done often becomes a habit, such as smoking. The patch is applied only once each day, so there is no strong habit to break.

Q: What are some of the side effects?"

A: Some of the possible side effects from wearing the patch may include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach
  • Weakness
  • Blurred vision
  • Vivid dreams
  • Mild itching and burning on the skin
  • Diarrhea

The nicotine patch is a replacement therapy used to make your quit date more successful. It is dependable and safer than any tobacco product. The patches can be purchased over the counter to provide nicotine without having to carry, handle, smell or taste any tobacco products.

If you are interested in quitting smoking, there are Nicotine Cessation programs available within the community. Contact your local health department or the American Lung Association.

Christine Moats is Wellness Coordinator at Washington County Hospital.

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