Nicotine patches get a bad rap

Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 3:30 p.m.

"Quitting smoking is easy. I've done it a hundred times!" If you've tried to stop puffing on coffin nails, Mark Twain's quotation rings oh-so-true. But we YOU Docs know how you can get off the nicotine merry-go-round. In a nutshell:

1. Set a quit date 30 days from now.

2. Start walking every day. You're building discipline and heart/lung health.

3. Get an Rx for anti-craving pills (like buproprion) from your doc.

4. Find a support buddy — ideally someone else who wants to quit; you'll help each other. (We're starting a program for that at

5. Begin using a nicotine patch the day you quit.

What about the new report "proving" that nicotine patches (and gums, lozenges) don't work? Baloney. It compared people who quit using nicotine replacements with folks who quit cold turkey. Both groups fell off the non-smoking wagon at about the same rate. That doesn't mean patches don't work.

That logic is as twisted as Snooki's bra strap after a night on the town. They didn't measure quit rates. They measured return-to-smoking rates of quitters. Plus, we know long-term success doesn't happen that often with nicotine replacement alone.

We've helped at least 1,400 people quit. Smoking's a tough enemy, and you need an arsenal to beat it. Nicotine replacement is just one weapon — only 5 percent to 10 percent of quitters who do just replacement succeed. Thus our combo approach. Nearly 60 percent of people who follow it succeed!

For step-by-steps, go to Then go for it.

The YOU Docs, Mehmet Oz, host of "The Dr. Oz Show" and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic, are authors of "YOU: Losing Weight." For more information go to

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