The 10 Best Nicotine Patches of 2020

Curb cravings and reduce withdrawal symptoms

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Our Top Picks

NicoDerm CQ Step 1 Nicotine Patches at Amazon

"If nicotine gum or lozenges aren't your thing, NicoDerm's patches provide a low-maintenance option to suppress the urge to smoke."

NiQuitin Clear Step 1 Nicotine Patches at Amazon

"Designed to prevent withdrawal symptoms before they occur, the patches come in a transparent color for a discreet appearance."

Rite Aid Step 1 Nicotine Transdermal Patches at Amazon

"Tailored to those who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day, the Step 1 kit contains 14 patches for a two-week period."

NicoDerm CQ Step 2 Nicotine Patches at Amazon

"Designed with a 24-hour extended release, this option allows you to comfortably go on with your day without any cravings."

Aroamas Step 2 Nicotine Patches at Amazon

"For when you've moved to Step 2, this daytime patch can be applied to your arm, thigh, or hip and should be removed before bed."

Rite Aid Step 2 Nicotine Transdermal Patches at Amazon

"Ideal if you smoke fewer than 10 cigarettes daily, one patch provides 24 hours of support and promises to reduce cravings."

NiQuitin CQ Step 3 Nicotine Patches at Amazon

"The Step 3 patch is the last stage, and it conveniently comes in a clear design so there's no need to cover it up."

Habitrol Step 3 Nicotine Transdermal System Patches at Amazon

"Though not the most discreet-looking option due to its opaque design, Habitrol promises 24 hours of support for two weeks."

Habitrol Nicotine Transdermal System Patches at Amazon

"An all-in-one kit to simplify your shopping, the set comes with Step 1, 2, and 3 patches for a total of 56 patches."

St. Mege Nicotine Patches at Amazon

"Infused with natural tobacco and various spices, St. Mege's patch can be cut in half for when you transition to lower doses."

Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), like the nicotine patch, can be a useful way to decrease nicotine dependence. According to the FDA, NRTs can relieve nicotine cravings, decrease withdrawal symptoms, and alleviate some of the stress of quitting. Nicotine patches traditionally come in three doses—21, 14, and 7 milligrams—and each of these doses corresponds to a different rate of nicotine consumption.

Because the nicotine patch acts as a replacement for cigarettes and other nicotine products, it’s important not to use it alongside those other products. “If you’re on the nicotine patch and you smoke on top of that, you might have excessive amounts of nicotine in your system all at once,” Dr. Peter Martin, M.D., Director of the Vanderbilt Addiction Center, says. This can cause dizziness, headaches, vomiting, and more. If you experience these symptoms and suspect a nicotine overdose, remove your nicotine patch and call your doctor immediately.

Here are the best nicotine patches on the market.

Our Top Picks

NicoDerm CQ Step 1 Nicotine Patches

NicoDerm CQ Step 1
Courtesy of Amazon.

If you’re looking for a Step 1 patch, the NicoDerm CQ Nicotine Patch is an excellent choice. Like other Step 1 patches, this one is made to deliver 21 milligrams of nicotine in a day. And since the patch is designed with extended-release technology, the nicotine will be deployed little by little, rather than hitting your system all at once. Whereas many nicotine patches are beige and opaque, the NicoDerm CQ Nicotine Patch is clear. This transparency makes it easy to wear discreetly during any time of year. 

Each pack contains 14 nicotine patches, making it a two-week kit. Like many Step 1 patches, this one is designed for those who currently smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day. NicoDerm recommends wearing one patch per day for the first six weeks of a ten-week quitting program.

Good to Know

Programs to quit smoking are typically divided into three steps. During Step 1, people wear nicotine patches that deliver 21 milligrams of nicotine per day. These patches are traditionally designed to be extended-release, which means that 21 milligrams of nicotine will be doled out little by little over the 24-hour period. Step 1 patches are recommended for those who currently smoke more than 10 cigarettes per day.

NiQuitin Clear Step 1 Nicotine Patches

The NiQuitin Clear Nicotine Patch is another great option if you’re looking for a Step 1 patch. Each patch contains 21 milligrams of nicotine. And since the patch is designed to be extended-release, it will gradually dole out that 21 milligrams over the course of 24 hours. Like the NicoDerm CQ Nicotine Patch (but unlike many other nicotine patches), this option is clear, so you can easily wear it discreetly.

Each pack contains seven nicotine patches, making it a one-week kit. Like many Step 1 patches, this one is designed for those who currently smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day. And NiQuitin recommends switching to a lower-dose patch after six weeks.

Rite Aid Step 1 Nicotine Transdermal Patches

The Rite Aid Nicotine Transdermal Patch is another solid Step 1 choice. Each patch contains 21 milligrams of nicotine, which will be delivered, bit by bit, over the course of 24 hours. One potential downside of the Rite Aid Nicotine Transdermal Patch, though, is that it isn’t particularly discreet. Each patch is beige, opaque, and relatively large, making it potentially less convenient to wear than NicoDerm and NiQuitin’s Step 1 options. 

Each pack of Rite Aid Step 1 Nicotine Transdermal Patches contains 14 nicotine patches, making it a two-week kit. Like many Step 1 patches, this one is designed for those who currently smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day. Rite Aid recommends using these patches for four weeks before switching to a lower-dose patch.

Expert Advice

"If you’re interested in using a nicotine patch—or trying some other NRT—we recommend that you start with a quit date. That’s the date you’re going to begin reducing your nicotine intake. Then, develop an action plan—and consider the obstacles you may run into along the way. It needs to be a focused effort, it doesn’t just happen by itself.”—Dr. Peter Martin, M.D., Director of the Vanderbilt Addiction Center

NicoDerm CQ Step 2 Nicotine Patches

Programs to quit smoking are typically divided into three steps. During Step 2, people wear nicotine patches that deliver 14 milligrams of nicotine per day. These patches are traditionally designed to be extended-release, which means that 14 milligrams of nicotine will be doled out little by little over a 24-hour period.

The NicoDerm CQ Nicotine Patch is a solid and discreet Step 2 option. Like other Step 2 patches, this one contains 14 milligrams of nicotine, which will be gradually delivered over a 24-hour period. Like other NicoDerm patches, it is clear, making it easy to wear discreetly. 

Each pack contains 14 patches, making it a two-week kit. Like many Step 2 patches, it's designed for those who currently smoke fewer than 10 cigarettes a day, and NicoDerm recommends using these patches for the first six weeks of an eight-week smoking-cessation program.

This patch is also suitable for those who are moving to a lower-dose nicotine patch after completing the Step 1 portion of a quitting program. NicoDerm recommends this group use the Step 2 patch for two weeks before moving to an even lower-dose option. 

Aroamas Step 2 Nicotine Patches

The Aroamas Nicotine Patch is another great option if you’re looking for a Step 2 nicotine patch. Each patch contains 14 milligrams of nicotine, which will be released over the course of 24 hours. This patch isn't entirely clear, but its outer edge is. This makes it more discreet than many nicotine patches, but not completely invisible.  

Each pack contains 21 patches, making it a three-week kit. Like many Step 2 patches, it is designed for those who currently smoke fewer than 10 cigarettes a day, as well as for those who are moving to a lower-dose nicotine patch after completing the Step 1 portion of a quitting program. Aroamas recommends using its Step 2 patches for two weeks before moving to a lower-dose option.

Rite Aid Step 2 Nicotine Transdermal Patches

The Rite Aid Nicotine Transdermal Patch is yet another solid choice for a Step 2 nicotine patch. Like other similar patches, this one delivers 14 milligrams of nicotine over the course of 24 hours. Unfortunately, because the patch is beige, opaque, and relatively large, it may not be as discreet as some other options.

Each pack contains 14 patches, making it a two-week kit. Like many Step 2 patches, the Rite Aid Transdermal Nicotine Patch is designed for those who currently smoke fewer than 10 cigarettes a day, as well as for those who are moving to a lower-dose nicotine patch after completing the Step 1 portion of a quitting program.

Rite Aid recommends using its Step 2 patches for two weeks before moving to a lower-dose option. 

NiQuitin CQ Step 3 Nicotine Patches

The NiQuitin CQ Nicotine Patch is a great and discreet Step 3 nicotine patch. Each patch contains 7 milligrams of nicotine, which will be gradually released over a 24-hour period. The patches are completely clear, making them easy to wear discreetly during any season.

Each pack contains seven patches, making it a one-week kit. Like many Step 3 patches, the NiQuitin CQ Nicotine Patch is designed for those who are moving to a lower-dose nicotine patch after completing the Step 2 portion of a quitting program. NiQuitin recommends using its Step 3 patches for the final two weeks of a smoking cessation program

Habitrol Step 3 Nicotine Transdermal System Patches

The Habitrol Nicotine Transdermal System Patch is another good choice for a Step 3 patch. Each patch contains 7 milligrams of nicotine, which will be released in controlled doses over the course of a day. Unlike some other similar patches, this one is not transparent. Instead, it is circular and opaque, making it a less discreet option.

Each pack contains 14 patches, making it a two-week kit. Like other Step 3 patches, this is designed for those who are moving to a lower-dose nicotine patch after completing the Step 2 portion of a quitting program. Habitrol recommends using its Step 3 patches for the final two weeks of your smoking cessation program.

Habitrol Nicotine Transdermal System Patches

The Habitrol Nicotine Transdermal System Patches package is an all-in-one kit that makes following a quitting program particularly easy. Instead of asking you to piece together a quitting timeline and stock up on a bunch of different boxes, Habitrol gives you everything you need in one package. 

Each pack comes with 56 nicotine patches: 28 Step 1 patches (enough to last you four weeks), 14 Step 2 patches (which will last you two weeks), and 14 Step 3 patches (enough for two weeks). Combined, these patches create an eight-week program that makes it easy to gradually reduce your nicotine consumption.

You don’t even have to remember to order your next box of patches—everything you need is already there.

St. Mege Nicotine Patches

The St. Mege Nicotine Patches package is an all-in-one nicotine patch kit that offers more customization than most. Each package contains 25 patches, and each patch contains 21 milligrams of nicotine. This makes the patches a great Step 1 option. And when you’re ready to move to a lower dose, all you have to do is cut the patches in half.  Many nicotine patches aren’t designed to be used this way, but St. Mege specifically recommends this kind of custom craftiness.

If you don’t mind doing a little extra work, this package is a great way to keep your patch inventory pared down and your quitting timeline personalized.

Final Verdict

The Habitrol Nicotine Transdermal System Patches set puts convenience first. You don’t have to worry about running out of patches, reordering, or doing the math to figure out how many patches you need. You don’t even have to create your own quitting timeline. The work is done for you—all you have to do is buy the box and remember to wear a patch each day. This lack of customization may put some off. But many will appreciate that by removing some tedious obstacles, Habitrol has made it easier to start a quitting program—and to stick with it. 

What to Look for in a Nicotine Patch

Dosage

The primary way nicotine patches vary from one another is in dosage. Step 1 nicotine patches deliver 21 milligrams of nicotine, Step 2 nicotine patches deliver 14 milligrams of nicotine, and Step 3 patches deliver 7 milligrams of nicotine. These doses are typically released little by little over a 24-hour period. And the dose you should opt for will vary, based on your smoking history and where you are in your quitting program.

Appearance

Some nicotine patches are beige and opaque, while others are clear. If you want a more discreet option, one of the clearer patches will likely serve you better than one of the opaque ones.

Patch Count

Nicotine patches come in packs, and these packs tend to contain somewhere between seven to 21 nicotine patches. Before you shop, consider how many patches you’ll need—and at what doses. Different quitting programs call for different schedules, and considering your program before you buy will help you avoid stocking up on something you don’t need. (For instance, if your program calls for two weeks of Step 3 patches, you don’t need to buy a 21-pack of Step 3 patches).

Why Trust Verywell Mind

As a seasoned health and fitness writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them.

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Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. The United States Food and Drug Administration. The Addictive Chemical in Tobacco Products. Updated August 28, 2020.

  2. The United States Food and Drug Administration. Want to Quit Smoking? Updated 12, December 2017.

  3. American Academy of Family Physicians. Pharmacologic Product Guide. Updated January 2019.

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