I was one of those people who was fortunate enough to give up smoking, several years ago now, with the help of tablets, never needing to resort to the use of nicotine patches, and for this I am eternally grateful. A friend who recently gave up, only two weeks ago in fact, did decide to go down the patch route, vut after two weeks found she could no longer bear to put them on her skin, as they caused a rash.
This type of medicine is called NRT, or nicotine replacement therapy, designed, supposedly to help smokers break the habit by drip-feeding the nicotine fix they need into their bodies without the need to inhale cigarette smoke, but it is a false dawn, in my opinion, because the problem of addiction to anything, including nicotine, is all a matter of will-power.
I know, from personal experience, about those unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, and those cravings for cigarettes, the dependence on the nicotine an overwhelming urge, which the common withdrawal symptoms, irritability, headaches, restlessness, insomnia and difficulty concentrating do little to help you combat. The NRTs work by giving you a small amount of nicotine, but without inhaling dangerous tobacco smoke.
Using NRT to help give up has been proved to practically double the chance of successfully quitting, but there are things to bear in mind. Cigarettes contain over 4,000 chemicals, and patches have to help combat this, but one cannot keep the patches on all the time, and allergic reaction to them is not uncommon as a result of overuse.
The amount of NRT therapy you need depends very much on what kind of smoker you are and how serious your addiction is. Patches are of different strengths and tthose who smoke over 10 cigarettes daily will need highest strength patches, gradually reducing. They should be used no longer than 16 hours at a stretch.
Patches, no more than one at a time, should be applied to clean, dry, hairless, healthy skin, to which no oils or talcum powder have been applied. Patches must never be cut open, and the user should be aware than patches should never be applied to the same skin area twice, because of potential irritation problems.
There really is no magic formula for dealing with the problem of skin rashes and irritation, though there are many alternative methods of maintaining the nicotine balance in the body, lozenges, tablets, inhalators, tongue sprays etc, so one need not despair if the patches start to cause skin problems. The main reason, it has to be said, for such problems is the tendency to overdo the patches.
I remember clearly that, at the time I was giving up, my small group of fellow sufferers held one member, a lady, who not only took the prescribed tablets to help suppress the cravings, but had several patches on each arm, which she claimed she never took off. After three weeks she was complaining bitterly of unbearable itchings, and the patches were history.
It cannot be sensible to carry on using patches when problems arise with allergic reactions, so if this happens you need to consult your doctor. The simple fact that alternatives exist, which are just as effective, makes suffering for no good reason illogical, to say the least. Patches, despite the convenience, are not for everyone, but that need not mean the attempts to give up should be abandoned. There are always alternative ways of dealing with the problems.