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Getting off the nicotine patch!

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
Has anyone ever quit smoking on the patch? I cannot ever smoke again! My health depends on it. I have been on it ever since I had pneumonia, longer than the program calls for. I recently bought step one and cut them in half. That worked and saved me money. No problem. Then I cut them in 3--still a- ok. Now I have cut the patch into 4 pieces; that's such a small amount of nicotine less, but I am constantly thinking of cigarets. I can't fail.
I went from 21mg to 14. to 10.5, to 6.67 mg with no problem. Why am I having a problem with 5.25? This has to work. Help! Believe it or not, I have not had a cigaret since Dec. 10. I seldom thought of them. Why now?
post #2 of 48
Believe me, I know how hard it is to stop smoking. I quit August 25th, 2000. And I had a pack of cigarettes in my desk drawer right up until last week. I never touched the pack, because as long as I had them, I didn't NEED them. If I hadn't had any, I guarantee I would have gone out and bought a pack... and smoked them.

But I just quit. Period. No patch, no nothing. It sounds insane, but what really helped was being around smoke. As long as I wasn't smoking myself, but I could smell it, I was okay. So if we went out, I'd insist on sitting in the smoking section of the restraunt.

I know none of what I'm rambling on about really answers your question. I'm sorry I can't help any more than tell you the tricks I used. Now I really don't have the desire to smoke. It disgusts me!

If I can do it, anyone can! Good luck!
post #3 of 48
I've never smoked though both my parents did, and I remember what they went through with quitting.

You might try thinking about what you miss about smoking. My daughter's grandmother doesn't even try to quit because she actually enjoys the taste, but I think that's unusual. I mean, do you miss hanging with friends? Taking many mini-breaks at work? The ritual of lighting etc? Something to do with your hands? Something in your mouth? Sense of security? People smoke for zillions of reasons, and most of them could be accomplished another way. So maybe if you can figure out what you miss about it, you can think of something different to replace it with. Just an idea.

You have come so far, some people just take longer than others. Keep your goal of quitting in mind, but don't rush yourself. If you feel like you've hit a plateau, that's okay. Stay there for a while until you feel more comfortable and then cut back. It's different for everyone.
post #4 of 48
Good luck Jeanie! I hope that everything works out ok for you and that quitting will get easier.
post #5 of 48
I'm in the process of quitting myself, so I know how hard it is. My advice would be to go back to the "dose" that you were okay with for a while still, and cut down later. It takes the body a while to get used to less nicotine, and there's no point in hurrying- nicotine in itself does not cause cancer etc, so it's not really a problem if you're on the patch a few weeks longer than you thought, of course it's no good to get addicted to the patch either, but you've already started to wean yourself off it so just take it slow. I've realized that my previous attempts to quit didn't work because I tried to use less of the nicotine gum (or patch) too soon, and got the craving again. I know that for me, "full blown" craving for smokes is absolutely impossible to resist, so my goal when trying to quit is never to let it get that bad by using nicotine products. Plenty of time to wean myself off them, no need to hurry and risk starting to smoke again. The experts around here say that it's okay for you to be on the nicotine product longer than usually called for if necessary. Perhaps checking with your doctor would be a good idea to make sure this is true for the patch you're using as well. Good luck and I'm sure you'll succeed! I'm enjoying having normal colored fingers again, and breathing more easily from the bottom of my heart, and I'm sure you are too. =)
post #6 of 48
I will have been smoke free for 4 years in August. Smoked for 10 years; I got hypnotized. The easiest thing I ever done. No cravings, no wanting to bite peoples head off (well, no more than usual). I would recommend hypnosis to anyone, just make sure you find a reputable person. Good luck!!!
post #7 of 48
Jeanie - I think Eeva has a great idea. Try that and give yourself some space ad time.
I have failed at every attempt I made to quit smoking and am still 'trying' - but I have to admit that I enjoy it. I like the breaks at work, etc.....
sigh..............but with asthma and MS and Graves, the Dr's are always harping at me. I wish that it was easier, but it is not!

I read a Government study that said quitting herione is easier than cigarettes. ONE DAY AT A TIME KIDDO! You have done GREAT so far! Keep up the good work!
Deb M.
post #8 of 48
I just wanted to say Good Luck, You can do it!!!!!!
post #9 of 48
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the support. Missy, I wanted to use hypnotism along with the patch, but I am home bound right now. Eeva, I think you're right. I have used the patch before, and always failed when I got to the last patch(7mg). It seemed to do no good. The manufacturers tell you not to cut the patch. However, spending $50 for a two week supply is beyond my ability, so I bought the generic for $32, and started cutting. (The manufacturers even tell you not to use one if you accidentally cut it.) Guess what, manufacturers, it works! And it saves me a fortune!
To be serious about it, I am doing a bit better now. If I have any more wild cravings I'll increase the size of the cut pieces. Debra, if I thought I could smoke one or two a day, I would. But I've tried that before. I smoked one or two on breaks too, even while on the patch! (no more than that) If I hadn't been in the hospital for a month I know I wouldn't have quit until I got hypnotized. The problem was that I kept putting that off. It is tough, but until the last few days I was doing great! Try the patch. Maybe the three of us can quit successfully together. Anyone else interested? I know some great hints from Smoke-enders. I paid $350 for that program!
Try this: Carry a toothbrush and toothpaste everywhere you go, and brush your teeth when you have a craving. It helps.
post #10 of 48
Thread Starter 
P.S. Debra, I have asthma too, and scarring in my lungs from the a case of pneumonia three years ago. These two conditions make up COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). This time the nurses told me I will definitely get pneumonia again if I resume smoking. I have been on oxygen for two years, and had to give up my teaching position. Please don't let this happen to you! The damage from COPD can't be reversed!
post #11 of 48
Jeanie - I am so sorry that you are this ill. It has to be hard to manage every day. I promise...on my next pay day - I WILL go and get the patches. They did help me before, but stopped using them. We will have to compare notes. You keep up the good work!
post #12 of 48
Have others found the patch really helps? Because in my experience, the two other times I really tried to quit I used the gum first and then the patch, and it didn't really help all that much. This time, I'm using microtabs, which you put under your tongue to dissolve. They're recommended for people with a more serious nicotine addiction (according to the test, on the scale of 1-10 I'm a 9...) because they release the nicotine in a minute or two, almost as fast as a cigarette. The patch releases nicotine all the time, slowly, so very different from actually smoking. The tabs really seem to be working, much much better than the patch or gum (I hated the specific way you had to chew it), but it appears different methods work for different people, and also according to your level of addiction. Of course, the nicotine products we have here may be different from what you have.

Just curious. Good luck to us all, eh?
post #13 of 48
Eeva - I havbe never heard of those tabs. I wonder if they do not have them here in the US.
Tell us more!!!!!!!!!!
They sound wonderful. I would probably be a 29 1/2 on that scale of 1-10!
post #14 of 48
Thread Starter 
Hi, Eeva. Yes, the patch completely eliminated my thoughts of cigarets until I cut way down on the dosage (very gradually, as I told you.) I am really addicted. If someone walked in with a pack, I would probably ask for one immediately, and my life depends on not smoking. We have a pill over here, but it is an anti-depressant, and I have a very bad reaction to any stimulants. I have written "microtabs" down, and will call the pharmacy. I think hypnotism would be good too. It's not all physical of course; we turn to cigarets when we're stressed, and nothing is more stressful than not being able to smoke! We have to quit, though. Too bad we can't afford to stay on meds indefinitely and just have a cigaret occasionally. I can't do it though. I cut down to 4 a day during one of my many attempts to quit. I rolled my own by hand (they were a mess!) from August to December. I bought a pack for Christmas because I didn't want to ruin everyone's day. Even my piano students had been asking me to start smoking again. The wicked witch of the west had nothing on me!
That did it--back to a pack and a half within a few weeks.
p.s. Do the microtabs come in different dosages? Tell us more.
p.p.s We must seem really stupid to those who never smoked or were able to quit easily.
post #15 of 48
Jeanie - we are not stupid - just 'addicted'. I never thought this would happen to me when I started smoking!
post #16 of 48
I am so sorry you are having such a hard time of quitting. As a former pharmacy technician I can tell you the reason you are advised not to cut the patch in half is just because you cut it into even pieces does not assure you an exact dose. In pills, it usually works okay, unless it is time released or extended release. In a patch, there are certain carriers involved that spread it through the patch to make it work. Of course, it does have to do with marketing also. Could be, even though you feel like you are on the dose too long, it could take you longer. Remember, the recommended time is just a recommendation, it will vary from person to person. I will be so proud for you when you kick the addiction. I would give a whole lot for my mom to work as hard as you at it!
Keep it up!
post #17 of 48
I don't feel "silly" about having such a hard time about quitting anymore, I just get a bit annoyed by people who say "I just decided not to smoke and never did" and at the same time kind of suggest that I just don't have the willpower they do. I've seen friends who've smoked for years just quit, and they didn't really get the craving at all- which I have found to be a physical symptom for me anyway, since when I feel like having a smoke, if I take a nicotine tab, the feeling goes away. I was very surprised when I found this, because I had thought that the feeling of wanting a smoke was a habit and just in my mind. No amount of brushing my teeth, chewing gum, cleaning the house or doing anything to take my mind off it works in the long run. I'm not belittling people who have quit by just deciding to, I think they are truly amazing people, but I do believe that many of us just can't do it that way, and it's unfair how *some* people make it sound like I'm this weak person for not being able to (not referring to anyone on this site, but to some people I've talked to in real life). I believe that some of us get much more addicted to smoking than others, even if they've smoked as long as we have and as much. I even heard of a study that suggested that some people have a predisposition in their genes or something for (nicotine) addiction, meaning that the people that do have this gene get a much more severe addiction than others, which would explain why some of us have such a terrible time quitting. Of course, I don't know if this actually is possible.

Anyhow, about the microtabs. The company that makes all the other nicotine products here make these as well, they're tiny tablets that you put under your tongue and they dissolve in about half an hour. They recommend you take one or two (two if you're badly addicted) every hour or two, one tablet has 2 mg of nicotine in it. They have the same sort of bitter "taste" as the gum does, but not as bad, and they work fast- if I feel like having a smoke, I take one or two, and in a minute or so the feeling's gone. Nobody can see you have one in your mouth, and no one need to know you're using them. What I also like about them is that because they're under your tongue, you can't eat at the same time, which is good for me since I tend to nibble on something all the time to have something to do with my mouth when not smoking. Then again, I've decided that even if I gain 20 pounds when quitting, it's worth it, losing weight is so much easier than quitting smoking (although it is hard too, need to lose about 20 already...).

Jeanie- I turn into a real bitch when not smoking, too. I yell at my dogs and cats for just about nothing, which they can't possibly understand, and I feel terrible about it afterwards, but just can't help myself, I get sooo angry and am so irritated all the time! Which is why the tabs are a lifesaver, I don't turn into a bitch with these.
post #18 of 48
Thread Starter 
RBJ,Thanks for the information. I didn't think cutting the patch would hurt me, but I was worried that, since I went up to Step 1, 21mg, I would get MORE than I wanted to, and go backwards in my attempt. What you said makes sense, but I would recommend cutting the patch to anyone who wants to quit and doesn't have $50 to spend all at once. It's nice to have someone knowledgable tell me what I wanted to know. The store brand seems to be the same as the brand name. They are even packaged with all the same useless garbage to justify the cost!

Eeva, Is there a smaller dose available? Two mg is about 1/3 of my daily patch. I know it must sound as if I would not think of them at all on such a small amount, but when the urge hits, it's just the same as when I was smoking a pack and a half daily.

Debra, Those people were either recipients of one of God's miracles or just plain lucky. I'm serious about the miracle thing. I believe God still does the thunder and lightning type once in a while--maybe to open our eyes. My niece had been praying to quit, and her kids noticed that she kept lighting up, but the cigarets just burned away, untouched. She hadn't noticed!! So she quit! But she claims no credit. This is not documented medically, unless you count the fact that she's a nurse. On the other hand, my brother-in-law JUST QUIT, and lorded it over everyone. I could have killed him with a smile on my face!
post #19 of 48
No, no smaller dose available here anyway. But the way you wean yourself off of the tabs is taking less a day. So when I started, I took 2 tabs maybe ten times a day (thirty tabs is the maximum per day), and when I start weaning myself off them, I take less each day. They work very differently from the patch, which releases nicotine all the time but slowly, the tabs release the nicotine in a few minutes and last about half an hour. Almost like smokes. Maybe you could snap a tab in two, don't know...
post #20 of 48
Thread Starter 
Hi, all. I just wanted you to know that I increased the size of my quarter of a patch just a very little bit, but that was enough to keep me from calling somewhere to order a pack. I'm so grateful for your support. How about you, Debra and Eeva? Any one else? I read in the Sunday paper that one of the stars on tv has been on the patch for over a year! Now I feel encouraged. I can afford it now, too!
post #21 of 48
Wow--never thought to find a discussion on weaning oneself off the patch on the cat site!--but so glad I did. I have been trying to quit smoking off and on for 5/6 years! I once quit for almost two years until my house burned 2/25/99 and my Rottie and Siamese cat died of smoke inhalation. Never have I been able to quit without the patch! Would use the 21 mg Nicoderm for 2-3 months, then the 14 mg.for months. AFter the fire, eventually went back on the patch, would wear it for several days, then smoke a day or two. For the past year, returned to smoking full time--a pack a day, which was less than the two packs I used to smoke before I quit the first time.
I have now been without a cigarette for 76 daYS and have been using the 14 mg. patch for two weeks. As soon as I take off the 14 mg patch, the craving returns---so I may be terminally hooked on the patch! I am a recovered alcoholic, sober 21 years--but this addiction is the worst! Anyway, even if I never kick the patch, it is better than smoking, I guess. Would that there were an effective group for smokers like AA. I know that there is a Smokers Anonymous in many places. Maybe regular sharing of experiences in notsmoking among forum members here can substitute for a meeting of Smokers Annymous?
post #22 of 48
Thread Starter 
I noticed that Eeva is on line, and I am hoping she, Debra, and everyone else who's been in touch are still non-smokers. I have not cheated. I sometimes dream I had a cigaret, but I am not suffering withdrawal symptoms any more. I'm on a small fourth of Step One, about 5 mg. That was the hard step, believe it or not. Now I'm used to it. Do you realize what a little bit of nicotine that is-compared to a pack or 1 and 1/2 a day? Well, I'm not through the program yet, but I'm taking my time, and doing a lot of praying! How about you?
post #23 of 48
Well, I have to confess to buying a pack a few weeks ago and smoking it, but have managed to keep up not smoking since then. I had to have an infected tooth removed, the local anaesthesia (is that the word???) didn't work fully because of the bad infection, and it hurt like hell. I've never thought I'd cry in the dentist's chair (I've had my share of root canals when the anaesthesia didn't work properly etc) but pulling that tooth was so unbelievably painful I couldn't help it. I've never had anything hurt so bad in my whole life, and after that experience, I didn't care about anything at all and bought a pack. Some say that's just an excuse and I guess it is, but I still don't care- it was a relapse, for a "good" cause (made me feel better after the dentist, although I still burst into tears thinking about that visit a few hours later) and it hasn't happened again. I guess cigarettes are somewhat of a comfort to me for some reason.

Besides that, been going well, taking less of the microtabs, not because I try to, but I seem to need less. What helps me through the difficult times (except the one) is thinking about smoking for the rest of my life and comparing that to the feeling I have now of breathing more easily, smelling and tasting things much better, not having smoke breaks dictate my life etc. Btw Jeanie, nicotine products have a whole lot more of nicotine in them than what you would get by smoking, I've forgotten the reason, so don't compare your 5mg to the smokes, compare it to the dose you started out with.
post #24 of 48
Thread Starter 
Eeva, Good for you for not letting that one incident make you give up. I know I would have done the same thing. I just hope I would be as smart as you. I won't feel I've really accomplished something until I'm using 0 % of a patch!
post #25 of 48
Jeanie, don't say that, you've already accomplished a great deal!!! I can't remember the statistics exactly, but even with the help of nicotine products, not even half of those who try to quit manage to do so. When was the last time you didn't have a smoke for this long? I know that for me, that was 9 yrs ago, before I started smoking. That's why I'm still extremely proud of myself even though I did have that relapse! So go ahead, be proud of your accomplishment NOW, not only when you're totally off the patch. You know, our goal is to quit smoking (which you have), not to have no more nicotine. THIS is the hardest time you know, weaning yourself off of nicotine, so feel proud of yourself now, that keeps the motivation going and don't look too far ahead. Taking it a day at a time is the way to go, or for me it's a smoke at a time, like the ads for nicotine products here say. Don't look too far ahead or the road ahead may seem too difficult or scary, but feel good about yourself right now. You've done an incredible job so far, and you should feel proud of doing it.
post #26 of 48
You guys are doing GREAT!
I am soooooooooooo B..........A.............D
post #27 of 48
Thread Starter 
Debra, We have to encourage you. Not nag, but encourage. I know you want to quit, because of your asthma. Remember, my problem started when I tried to hurry, and you encouraged me! Eeva, I have not gone 3 1/2 months without smoking since I started. I was nineteen years old, and I am now a grandmother! I hope we all three make it. It has to be your own decision, however, as you know. I wish I could have my cake and eat it too, but I can't. Blue, did you quit? I know you were trying, but I was not on-line for a while and don't know if you made it. If you made it, help us out, please. If you didn't, maybe we can encourage you too.
post #28 of 48
Well, Im not a smoker, but I have been reading parts of this thread, and just wanted to say to all of you - YEY!!! You're ALL doing well and GOOD FOR YOU!!!

There, just my two unimportant cents! ahaha
post #29 of 48
Both my parents smoked. My dad gave it up cold turkey one day. That was about 12 years ago.

Good Luck Ladies! I know you can do it!
post #30 of 48
Thread Starter 
I just wanted to give you all an update. Within two weeks of that last post, I started forgetting to put on a piece of the patch. So, I am no longer a cigaret smoker or a nicotine addict. As some of you know the key was cutting the patch in smaller and smaller pieces. I still wish I had a cigaret on occasion, but I found my old carton and gave them away. I have not had a cigaret since Dec. 10, give or take a couple of days. By the way, Gatsbycat quit completely too. Eeva was not smoking the last time I was in touch. So, it can be done. If you want to quit, read this thread. You'll get some good ideas.
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