I realize I'm really late to this thread, but I figured I'd post a reply on this for those interested in the topic in the future before the thread closes.
First of all, before you quit smoking (if you haven't already), read this article in the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/31/he...it-enough.html
Secondly, I see/hear a lot of speculation about the horrible, disastrous, potentially life threatening effects of cutting nicotine patches in half. Then I read on and find 3 more people who have actually done it, and it worked fine for them.
Not one person on any forum (and I've looked around) has posted "I cut my nicotine patches in half, got a nicotine overdose and was rushed to hospital". The WORST I've seen is from someone who got a rash worse than her usual nicotine patch rash. A rash? Seriously? People get rashes from lying on grass. A rash is the worst I've read?
Where I'm from, there's a saying: "In theory, theory and practice are the same thing. In practice, they're not."
Personally, I'd take advice from someone whose actually tried it before I take advice from someone who buys into the BigPharma's "Never cut the patch" rule. Even the doctor in the New York Times article says "it's probably safe", but that the dosage may be "unpredictable".
At the same time, BigPharma will tell you to NEVER smoke while you have a patch on. That myth was debunked years ago, but BigPharma continues to tout the dangers of smoking while on the patch. Why? So you'll take the patch off, reduce the amount of adhesive "sticky power", do it again and WHAM ... you need a new patch because the one you kept taking off to smoke won't stick anymore.
I know this is turning into a bit of a rant, forgive me please. But, have you ever actually looked at the box of generic nicotine patches? "58.5 mg nicotine with a nominal in vivo
rate of 21mg per day"
Wait. At 21 mg per day, with 58.5 mg of nicotine in these patches, I could wear a single patch for over 2 days and 10 hours ... non-stop. One patch lasts two days. Believe me on this, I was a 22 year smoker, quit with the patch and each patch lasted me two days. I changed it every other morning after my shower. Since the patch is waterproof, there's no problem showering every day, either. Yes, I cut them (because of the NY Times article which suggested I had progressed too fast when I quit after 6 weeks then relapsed). I was on nicotine patches for 3 months on my second attempt. But I bought 21 mg patches, cut them into 1/3rds, and placed the unused portion back on the metal backing to ensure I didn't lose nicotine to evaporation (this does happen). Each 1/3rd patch lasted two days. Each box of 7 ($19.97 at Walmart) lasted 42 days. I purchased two boxes for my late stage of quitting and was on them for 60-odd days and then took it off after I figured I could go it alone. $40 for 84 days worth of patches. Not bad, not bad.
(I should note here that cut patches are NOT waterproof, and that every time I showered with a cut patch, I got a nicotine rush. Something about water and soap gets under the membrane and increases absorbtion. If you're using a cut patch, take it off to shower.)
Lastly, before you give up nicotine too hastily, remember that there is absolutely nothing wrong with nicotine. It's the CO and Tar in cigarettes that's harmful, not nicotine. In fact, nicotine is a great little stimulant ... about as harmful as caffeine.
If EVER you think about going back to smoking, slap a patch on your shoulder! There is no harm in going back to the patch, but there's plenty of harm in going back to cigarettes (not to mention plenty of expense)
There ... I feel better now.