Nikotinplåster / Sluta röka
Nikotinplåster / Sluta röka

Quit smoking with nicotine patches

Nicotine patches are one of the most commonly used nicotine medications. It’s easy to understand why. You put the patch on your skin to help you with your cravings to smoke. Your body absorbs a small amount of nicotine throughout the day. Keep your cravings for a cigarette at bay so you can focus on other, more important things.

Everything about nicotine patches

What is a nicotine patch?

Nicotine patches are one of the most common tobacco cessation products. For about 30 years, they has been available as a proven and effective aid for people who want to quit smoking. Many clinical studies have shown nicotine patches to have good effects and results.

The patch is a smart and simple product. It contains nicotine that is absorbed through the skin, reaches the bloodstream and reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine patches are classified as medical products and are available in pharmacies and supermarkets.

How do nicotine patches work?

It is basically the same principle as a common band-aid. You attach it to your skin. The difference is obviously that a common band-aid is used to cover cuts and wounds, while nicotine patches are used for smoking cessation.

The patch is placed on the skin and then delivers a small amount of nicotine into your body. By absorbing a controlled amount of nicotine through the skin, you get an even, balanced nicotine treatment throughout the day.

There are many different nicotine patches available. You will easily find a type that suits you and your needs.

Some examples of different nicotine patches:

  • Patches effective over a certain period of time (for example 16 or 24 hours)
  • Patches with different nicotine content and strength
  • Different sizes
  • Different colours

 You wear the patch on your skin, often on your upper arm, but you can basically wear it anywhere on your body. You may perhaps want to hide it under your clothes, and parts of your skin may be more or less sensitive.

Are you keen to try nicotine patches? Try it out; find a spot on your skin that feels comfortable for you and carefully follow the instructions on the packet leaflet.

What are the pros and cons of nicotine patches?

We are all different and have different preferences when it comes to nicotine replacement treatments. What works for someone can be completely useless for others. As is the case with all medical products, nicotine patches have both advantages and disadvantages.

Having a full understanding of how nicotine patches may affect you makes it easier for you to find a product that suits you and your needs.


  • With a continuous release of nicotine throughout the day, you get an even level of nicotine in your bloodstream and the risk of sudden craving attacks are thus reduced.
  • The patch last for a long time, up to 24 hours.
  • The patch is discreet and easy to apply.


  • The biggest disadvantage is that the patch provides a very slow effect. Therefore, if you apply one when the cravings kick in, it may take hours until you get an effect.
  • They are often quite expensive.
  • You cannot regulate the amount of nicotine you get into your body.
  • They may cause skin irritation.
  • They do not provide any oral stimulation, which can be a tough habit to break for some smokers.

Why should I choose nicotine patches?

Are you considering using nicotine patches? Congratulations! It means you want to quit smoking. Not an easy, but fantastic decision.

So, are nicotine patches a good option for you? It depends on what you feel most comfortable with. Some people find the patch to be an easy to use product – you simply put it on and don’t have to worry about withdrawal symptoms. The patch is attached to your skin and releases an even, comfortable dose of nicotine over several hours.

For others, who are used to the habit of holding something in their hand, it can be more difficult to get used to the patch.

The best is to test it for yourself. As long as the patch makes you avoid smoking at least one cigarette, then you should see it as a win!

What are the ingredients in a nicotine patch?

Nicotine is obviously the active substance. Nicotine patches are available in several different strengths. That way, you are able to find a dose that suits you and sufficiently supports your withdrawal symptoms.

The most common strengths are:

  • 7mg
  • 10mg
  • 14mg
  • 15mg
  • 21mg
  • 25mg

The varied nicotine content in different patches means you can gradually work your way down during your treatment period.

Are there any side effect of using nicotine patches?

An intake of nicotine is obviously always linked to some risks. Beside nicotine related effects, using nicotine patches may also lead to some skin problems.

Common side effects from nicotine patches include:

  • Skin irritation
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sleep disorders
  • Heart palpitations

These side effects are normally temporary and will pass when you get used to the nicotine patch treatment.

You may also experience problems related to withdrawal symptoms.

How many nicotine patches should I use?

Nicotine patches come as 24-hour and 16-hour patches. They also come in various strengths.

It’s recommended to apply a 24-hour patch once a day, preferably in the morning, and to leave it on for 24 hours. Then you remove it and apply a new patch. The 24-hour patches are aimed specifically for people who feel an urge to smoke when they wake up in the morning and who want a constant flow of nicotine while sleeping.

For some people it’s sufficient to use the 16-hour patches, and thus only get a nicotine flow during the hours of the day they are awake.

Most people start their treatment with high strength patches and work their way down to lower strength patches after about one to two months.

How much do nicotine patches cost?

The price depends on the strength, how many patches the package contains and which supplier you choose. 

I am pregnant. Can I use nicotine patches?

No, you should not use nicotine or tobacco when you are pregnant. There are plenty of scientific research showing how harmful nicotine is for the foetus. Nicotine in the mother’s body impacts the blood flow in the placenta and uterus negatively, which leads to significantly lower oxygen supply to the foetus. This, in turn, adversely impacts the child’s development.

Breastfeeding and nicotine are also a bad combination. Nicotine in the mother’s blood stream is passed to the baby through the breast milk and becomes a health risk.

When you are pregnant, it’s safer to quit smoking without using nicotine replacement products. This will reduce the risks to the little one and yourself.

Ask your doctor or midwife if you need support, advice or help with nicotine treatments during your pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Nicotine patches and children

Nicotine is a very powerful toxin and particularly harmful to small children. Children who eat or absorb nicotine can show clear symptoms, such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Although nicotine in nicotine patches is released slowly, it is still highly harmful. Always keep nicotine patches away from children. Also be careful not to dispose of used patches where curious children easily can find them. A good tip is to fold the used patch with the sticky side facing inward – it reduces the risks of it doing damage.

If your child accidentally swallows a nicotine patch, you must immediately contact a poison information centre and follow the instructions provided.

Where can I buy nicotine patches?

Nicotine patches are non-prescription drugs. You find the patches in pharmacies amongst other smoking cessation products. Nicotine patches are also sold in most grocery stores. You can also buy them online.

You must be at least 18 years of age to purchase nicotine patches.

Remember to always read the package leaflet before using a nicotine patch. For best effect and to ensure good health during the treatment, it is important to follow the recommended dosage – neither take a too high or too low dose.

Where on the body should the nicotine patches be applied?

Generally speaking, the patches work on most skin areas. However, you get the best effect if you put it on clean, dry and hairless skin and away from wounds.

The best and most common areas to attach nicotine patches to, are:

  • Back
  • Upper arm
  • Hip
  • Chest

To ensure the most effective application, you should press the patch firmly on to the skin using the palm of your hand.

To avoid skin irritation, it’s recommended to apply the nicotine patch to a different area each time you apply a new patch. Allow a week until you again use a certain skin area and thus avoid skin irritation and itchiness.

Initially, it may feel odd to have something stuck to the skin, but most people get used to it after some time. It very quickly becomes a daily routine to remove and attach the nicotine patch.

If it feels odd or embarrassing to wear the patch, it’s really quite easy to hide it under the clothes. If so, choose a skin area where the patch is not visible. Trying to quit smoking and resist withdrawal symptoms is not easy – there is no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed about using nicotine patches or other quit smoking products.

Nicotine patches and smoking?

Tobacco cravings are powerful forces and even those who use nicotine patches may feel a strong urge to smoke a cigarette. So, what happens if you smoke while wearing a nicotine patch?

The effect depends on the individual’s sensitivities to high intakes of nicotine; however, it is definitely not recommended to smoke while wearing a nicotine patch. Even people who are long-term smokers and tobacco users can suffer from nicotine poisoning and get really sick.

What happens if I ingest too much nicotine?
You may experience:

  • High pulse
  • Paleness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If you already suffer from cardiovascular disease, then nicotine poisoning can be particularly harmful. The purpose of nicotine patches is obviously to become completely free from the addiction – not only to replace one nicotine source with another. Use the patches according to the instructions, and there is a greater chance you will achieve your goals and be able to start your new life, free from tobacco and nicotine.

Use nicotine patches according to the instructions

Read all information in the package leaflet before you start using the nicotine patches. To ensure your treatment will be successful, it is critical you use the patches according to the instructions. A too high or too low dose may reduce the chances of an effective and safe treatment.

Quit smoking – Strategy for success

Motivation is the most critical success factor to become a non-smoker. Is your energy and drive fading? That’s completely normal. Most people agree that smoking cessation is not easy but one of the hardest challenges one can face.
Thus, it’s not surprising if you at some point feel hopeless and overwhelmed.

Remember to set realistic goals. Do not focus on abstract images of a future tobacco-free life. Instead, aim at reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke daily. If you can cut it down from 20 to 10, then that’s an amazing success.

That’s when you aim for your next sub-goal; to cut down from 10 to 5.

Stopping smoking is a war won battle by battle. Having powerful weapons in your arsenal means you better your odds. Nicotine patches can be a useful weapon during your personal battle. And you may need more weapons. Combine the patches with, for example:

  • exercise
  • a nutritious diet
  • mindfulness
  • meditation
  • other techniques that work for you in your situation


Try things that you enjoy. Don’t be afraid to try smart nicotine replacement therapies, and reward yourself with a pat on the back, even if you at this stage only have cut down your consumption with one cigarette. We can all achieve more than we think. We just need the right support along the way.

If you need inspiration to get going, read through reasons to quit smoking, here.