Cigarette smoking has now been incriminated as one of the major causes of coronary heart disease, angina and heart attacks. Stopping is essential to better health. Also, try to avoid the “passive” smoke of others smoking nearby, for this is almost as bad.
Many methods have been advocated, often relying on self-will, which is always difficult, especially with heavy smokers. The development of the nicotine impregnated skin patch has made cessation much easier. It must be carried out under medical supervision, ideally by a sympathetic doctor who will take time to explain the mechanism, and give you back up moral and physical support.
A skin patch is applied each day. There are now several brands on the market, each with differing methods of use, and it is important to follow the special requirements. Nicabate, one of the most popular brands, comes in three strengths, a 21 mg, 14 mg and 7 mg patch (this is the amount of nicotine contained in each patch). The first and strongest (21 mg) is applied daily for a period of six weeks. It is then followed by a weaker one (14 mg) for a further two weeks, and finally the 7 mg patch for a further two weeks. After the 10-week routine, many patients have lost the desire to smoke. Use of the patch is then stopped.
It is essential you do not smoke when on the patch, especially if you already suffer from a heart disorder, and this must be fully discussed with the doctor. Sometimes strange feelings occur, but these are often withdrawal symptoms rather than from the patch itself. Cravings may be converted into symptoms, particularly if the person was a heavy smoker.
Place the patch on a different spot each day. If itching, redness or skin reactions occur, talk to your doctor. A few people are sensitive to the adhesive on the patch. Make a resolution. Turn to page 24 and sign “My Resolution,” and then keep “My Cigarette Diary” Write in the book, or make a photocopy you can keep in your pocket, and reread many times a day especially in the early stages of the program. The nicotine patches currently cost about the same per day as a packet of cigarettes, but remember, after the treatment is over, you will be saving that sum each day. One patient actually bought a car with the money he saved from not smoking!