Of all the cessation aids sold to people in the hopes of helping them to quit smoking, there is one that is a step above them all in terms of helping people rid themselves of their devastating addiction. Of all the nicotine replacement products out there — such as gum, nasal sprays, skin patches, inhalers, lozenges, and tablets — it is the nicotine patch that is clearly the most effective.
New research says that the patch could actually double a Person’s chances of successfully kicking the habit. As of now, patches aren’t recommended for people who still smoke, as they are meant to deliver a prescribed dose of nicotine, so as to slowly wean a person off their cravings.
On all nicotine replacement products, you will find stern warnings about the potential risks of lighting up and using the products. The problem is that Duke University researchers now say that smokers are the exact people who get the most benefit out of patches.
The researchers came to that realization after examining 96 people who smoked one pack a day, but expressed a wish to quit the habit. While half the patients wore nicotine patches, the other half wore “placebo” patches. They established a quitting date, and two weeks prior to it the researchers introduced all types of cigarettes into the equation so they weren’t just testing one kind of product.
The researchers also included low-tar, low-nicotine, and regular cigarette varieties in the study, and even some cigarettes with the nicotine removed almost entirely. On the quitting date, participants took the smoking cessation drug “Inversine.”
A month later, half of the smokers who wore the real patch were not smoking. Only a quarter of the people on the placebo patch could say the same. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen these kinds of findings. Earlier, the same researchers tested 400 smokers and saw beneficial effects for the patch as well.
Plus, two years ago, in a study of 100 smokers, 22% of the patch users had remained smoke-free six months after the quitting date. (That compared to 12% of placebo-patch users.) In this study, the people started using the patch two weeks before they quit — so they smoked during that time.
The Duke University researchers say that these three studies show the nicotine patch has a “significant effect” by roughly doubling the success rate of smokers who are trying to quit. In no case did they see nicotine overdose, which is the main reason for the warning. Instead of getting too much nicotine, people on the patch tend to smoke fewer cigarettes, thus compensating for the nicotine they’re getting through the patch on their skin.
In any event, the patch is a promising tool that can help people quit smoking — and it’s clearly the most effective nicotine replacement therapy out there. It is safe and offers a person significantly more help than if he/she were to go it alone in trying to shed one of the biggest underlying causes of illness in the world — smoking.