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Questions About Clear and Classic Nicotine Patches 

What strength of Nicotine Patch should I use and how long should I use them for? 

The strength depends on how many cigarettes you smoke a day. If you smoke 10 or more, you should start on Step 1 with a 21mg patch. Use that for six weeks, before moving to Step 2 with a 14mg patch for two weeks. Then on to Step 3 with a 7mg patch for a further two weeks.

If you smoke less than 10 cigarettes a day, you should start on Step 2 with a 14mg patch. Use that for six weeks, before moving to Step 3 with a 7mg patch for two weeks.

If you need to use Nicotine Patches for longer than 9 months (3 months for 12-17 year olds) seek advice from a healthcare professional.

How soon after my last cigarette can I begin using the patch?

Wait at least half an hour after your last cigarette before applying the Nicotine Patch.

How does the therapeutic nicotine from the patch get through the skin?

It passes through the outer layer of skin to the blood vessels beneath. Clear and Classic Patches contain a special membrane that controls the release of nicotine for reliable, steady dosing regardless of skin type.

Can I use more than one Nicotine Patch at a time?

No. A single patch of the correct strength provides enough nicotine to help reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Can I drink alcohol while using nicotine patches?

Yes – but try to avoid doing so if you usually associate it with smoking.

If I buy Clear or Classic Nicotine Patches but don’t use them for a few months, will it still be effective?

Unopened nicotine patches can be used up to the expiry date shown on the protective pouch. Once the pouch is opened, the patch should be applied immediately since it loses nicotine on exposure to the air.

Can I cut up the patch to receive less therapeutic nicotine?

Nicotine Patches are designed to gradually release therapeutic nicotine throughout the day, providing just enough to reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms when you quit smoking. Extensive clinical testing has established the appropriate amounts of therapeutic nicotine for each of the three Steps. Cutting patches is therefore not recommended because it may affect delivery of therapeutic nicotine into the blood.

I smoke roll-ups – can I still use Nicotine Patches?

Yes. The starting strength of a Nicotine Patch is calculated in the same way as for pre-rolled cigarettes.

How much therapeutic nicotine would be absorbed if I left the patch on for only 16 hours instead of the recommended 24 hours?

You would only have received about two-thirds of the dose.

The patch is stuck so firmly it’s difficult to remove – what should I do?

When removing the patch, work an oil-based product, like baby oil, into it with your fingers. This should help break up the adhesive.

What do I do if the patch keeps falling off?

First, make sure you’ve removed the clear protective liner from it. Some people find it doesn’t stick when the weather is hot. A similar problem has been known to occur if a patch is applied directly after a bath or shower. Recent use of soap, creams and lotions may also prevent a patch from sticking.

It’s important that the patch is applied to a dry, clean, hairless site on the skin. If you have followed these instructions and it still won’t stick, try placing medical tape round the edges to hold it in place.

What happens if the patch gets wet?

Because of its backing material, water won’t harm it. So you can bathe, swim or shower for short periods while wearing a correctly-applied patch.

Is it OK to shave the application site before I stick on a Nicotine Patch?

It’s better not to, as skin is often slightly irritated after shaving. If you must shave a site, try waiting 24 hours before applying the patch there.

Can I apply the patch over a tattoo?

We don’t recommend it. Ideally, put it somewhere else instead.

Can I wear Nicotine Patches on the soles of my feet or palms of my hands?

No, because therapeutic nicotine may not be absorbed as readily there as from more suitable sites such as arms, back or chest. Applying the patch to hands or feet may also interfere with daily activities, and cause nicotine to be inadvertently transferred to your eyes or nose, which should be avoided.

What will happen to a child if they apply or swallow the patch?

The amounts of therapeutic nicotine in the patch are tolerated by smokers aged 12 years old or above, but can produce symptoms of poisoning in a child that could prove fatal. Even a used Nicotine Patch could be harmful, so used and unused patches should be kept and disposed of out of the reach and sight of children.

If a child has stuck a patch on themselves or eaten one, remove any patches from the skin and wash and dry with water only (no soap). Contact your doctor or nearest hospital casualty department immediately and, if possible, show them the patch packet.

Can I use the patch in a sun tanning bed or sauna?

Yes, the patch can be used in a sauna or whilst using a sunbed.

I have very sensitive skin – is it safe for me to use Nicotine Patches?

If you have a skin disease, rash or an allergy to adhesives, you should check with a healthcare professional before using them. Equally, if you develop a rash or if the skin under the patch becomes swollen or very red, stop using the patches and consult a healthcare professional.

Why can’t I use the same application site for seven days?

It’s the best way to minimise potential skin irritation.

What is the difference between Clear Nicotine Patches and Classic Nicotine Patches?

They only differ in appearance. Clear and Classic (non-clear) Patches are identical in the way they deliver therapeutic nicotine through the skin and are applied and used in the same way. It’s your choice which one looks better on your skin.

Click here for questions about Nicotine Pouches

Click here for questions about Nicotine Lozenges

Click here for questions about Nicotine Gum

A healthcare professional is a doctor, nurse, smoking cessation advisor or a pharmacist.