Accessibility Statement

Nicotine patch

The nicotine patch is a quit medication that adults can get from the local drug or grocery store. The patch sticks to your skin like a Band-Aid that gives you a steady dosage of nicotine through your skin all day long. The patch is safe, and it does not have any of the toxins that are in tobacco smoke. Research shows it doubles your chances of quitting. It does not require a doctor’s prescription for adults.

PLEASE NOTE: Nicotine patches through QUITPLAN Services are available only to Minnesota adults (18 or older).

Benefits of the nicotine patch

  • Reduces symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, which can include headaches, irritability and cravings.
  • Easy to use.
  • One patch gives you a steady dose of nicotine the whole day.
  • Can be combined with the nicotine gum, lozenge, inhaler, or nasal spray to help reduce nicotine withdrawal. This can make it easier to stay quit.
  • Comes in different strengths depending on how much you’re used to smoking or chewing.

How to use it

  • Put on the first patch on the morning of your first day without smoking (your Quit Date).
  • Place the patch above your waist, but below your neck. Press it in place and hold it firmly for 10 to 20 seconds.
  • Every morning, take off the patch from the day before and put on a new patch.
  • Put the patch in a new place each day so it does not make your skin sore.
  • Most people use the patch for about eight weeks. You can use it longer if you feel a need to.

PLEASE NOTE, this information is not intended to replace the manufacturer’s instructions provided with the nicotine patch. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding proper use of the nicotine patch and consult with your health care provider if you have questions about using this product.

How much should I use per day?

Talk to your health care provider about how much to use.

Before using the nicotine patch, let your health care provider know if you:

  • Have had a heart attack in the last two weeks.
  • Have had a stroke or TIA (mini-stroke) in the last two weeks.
  • Have a severe heart rhythm problem or a very fast heartbeat.
  • Have worsening angina or heart/chest pain.
  • Are pregnant or are actively trying to get pregnant.
  • Are allergic to or have had serious skin irritation from using adhesives (like Band-Aids) on your skin.


A nicotine patch costs less per day than a pack of cigarettes! Remember to check with your employer or health plan to see if they pay for all or part of the patch. Learn more about how adults can get free patches, gum or lozenges from QUITPLAN® Services.

Side effects

See page 37 of the Quit Guide for common minor side effects. If you experience any side effects that worry you when using the nicotine patch, please contact your health care provider

If you experience swelling of the throat or mouth with difficulty breathing, remove the patch and seek immediate medical assistance. This may be a very rare, but very serious allergic reaction to something in the patch.

Please note: This page includes detailed, current information about this medication. Some of the information on this page may not be included in the Quit Guide. The Quit Guide may include additional instructions regarding the use of this medication. You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using this medication and consult your health care provider if you have any questions.