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Sep 2015 -

How Do Nicotine Patches Work?

Trying to stop smoking is a challenge faced by thousands of Britons every year, and with there being about 10 million adult cigarette smokers in Great Britain it’s not a surprise that so many of you want to kick the habit.

We know how hard it can be to put down the cigarettes and stop smoking, so in the following post we try and make giving up smoking less stressful for you.

We will look at how you can join the Stoptober campaign, what nicotine replacement therapies are and how nicotine patches work:

Stoptober 2015

If you’ve been thinking about stopping smoking for a while there is no time like the present to give up. Stoptober is coming up next month and for those of you who aren’t aware of what this initiative is; here is a quick outline:

Stoptober is a Public Health England campaign that encourages smokers to stop smoking for 28 days during October.

stoptober-2015 Source: Elliot Brown

The idea behind the scheme is that those who are successful in abstaining for this period are five times more likely to give up smoking for good. And with more than a quarter of a million people quitting smoking in 2014 doesn’t that sound like a statistic you want to be a part of?

If you want to sign up for Stoptober 2015 be sure to register your place online.

Attempting to quit smoking is tough and for many people the stress of trying to give up often leads to relapse, but there are some great Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs) out there to help you to stop.

What is Nicotine Replacement Therapy and how does it work?

When you smoke the nicotine from the cigarette enters your lungs and the travels to your brain releasing chemicals which make you feel more relaxed.

As you probably know nicotine is addictive meaning that if you’re a regular smoker after about an hour or so you’ll start to have withdrawal symptoms such as irritability and restlessness. This is due to the fall in nicotine in your bloodstream.

stoptober boat
Source: Nate Bolt

NRTs are a great way of getting the nicotine your body craves, but in a way that is less harmful than smoking a cigarette.

These therapies reduce the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms of cigarettes which helps to increase the chances of quitting smoking for some people. There are so many of these therapies available, and the most common include nicotine patches and nicotine gum.

This is your journey so make sure you find the product that works best for you.

How do Nicotine Patches Work?

Nicotine patches are applied directly to the skin on a daily basis, and they deliver a steady dose of nicotine into the body through your skin. Best of all these patches are discreet and can be applied easily.

Depending on the brand you choose you will come to find that there are two different types of patches, some patches only lasting 16 hours and some lasting 24 hours. With both types of patches working effectively the choice is up to you.

Nicotine patches come in different strengths with brands often referring to them as Step 1, Step 2 and Step 3. Manufacturers suggest that you gradually lower your nicotine intake through these stages so that you can eventually stop smoking.

For some people stopping these patches abruptly can also be just as effective, but with everybody being different it’s up to you to see what works best.

How does Nicotine Gum work?

Nicotine gum comes in two strengths, and these are 2mg and 4mg. The number of cigarettes you smoke per day will determine which strength will be the most appropriate for you.

For those of you who smoke between 18-20 cigarettes per day the 4mg strength gum is the best option for you, and if you smoke less than that the 2mg strength gum is for you.

stoptober-floor Source: Michael Ocampo

In order to release the nicotine chew the gum slowly until the taste becomes strong, and then rest the gum on your cheek so that the nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Once the taste begins to fade start chewing again and repeat this process for about 30 minutes. Use a fresh piece of gum after about an hour, and make sure you do not chew more than 24 pieces a day.

Just like the nicotine patches after about 2-3 months you should begin to reduce the amount of gum you use.


Each product varies in strength, so please be sure to read the instructions that are included and do not consume more than the recommended dosage.

Before you begin to use any of these products please ensure you speak to your doctor or pharmacist. They will be able to advise you professionally about whether or not you should be using these nicotine products in combination with any medication you are currently on. They will also be able to answer any other queries you have.

How do nicotine patches work

These products can help you to stop smoking altogether, but for even higher chances of success it is recommended that you use these products alongside a smoking cessation programme such as the Quitline support group, counselling or even learning some techniques to alter your behaviours.

We wish you the best of luck on your journey, and well done for making the first step!