Frequently Asked Questions


  • How long should I use NicoDerm CQ?

    You should use NicoDerm CQ for the full 8 or 10 weeks, depending on which step you start with. It is important to complete treatment. However, if you find that you need to use NicoDerm CQ longer than 8 ̶ 10 weeks, the FDA has determined that is acceptable to do so in most cases. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider if you feel the need to use NicoDerm CQ for longer than 8 ̶ 10 weeks.

    FDA Consumer Health Information. Nicotine replacement therapy labels may change. April 2013. Available at

  • Which strength is right for me?

    If you smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day, follow the 10-week plan. Use NicoDerm CQ Step 1 (21 mg) for 6 weeks, NicoDerm CQ Step 2 (14 mg) for 2 weeks and NicoDerm CQ Step 3 (7 mg) for 2 weeks. If you smoke 10 or fewer cigarettes a day, follow the 8-week plan. Use Step 2 (14 mg) for 6 weeks and Step 3 (7 mg) for 2 weeks.

  • How will I feel when I start using NicoDerm CQ?

    Quitting smoking isn’t easy. But you’ll feel a lot better than you would if you quit cold turkey. That's because the NicoDerm CQ patch helps reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms, which can include things like depressed mood, insomnia, irritability, frustration, anxiety, and restlessness. And since the benefit of quitting smoking is such a positive thing for your body and mind, you should start to feel better, both physically and emotionally, because of the decision you’ve made.

  • How do I apply the NicoDerm CQ patch?

    Step 1: Do not remove the NicoDerm CQ patch from its sealed protective pouch until you are ready to use it. NicoDerm CQ patches will lose nicotine to the air if you store them out of the pouch.

    Step 2: Choose a non-hairy, clean, dry area of skin. Do not put a NicoDerm CQ patch on skin that is burned, broken out, cut or irritated in any way. Make sure your skin is free of lotion or soap.

    Step 3: Take the patch out of the pouch. Save the pouch for use at time of disposal. A clear, protective liner covers the sticky side of the NicoDerm CQ patch – the side that will be put on the skin. The liner has a slit down the middle to help you remove it from the patch. With the sticky side facing you, pull half the liner away from the NicoDerm CQ patch starting at the middle slit. Hold the NicoDerm CQ patch at one of the outside edges (touch the sticky side as little as possible), and pull off the other half of the protective liner. Place liner back in the pouch. Save pouch for disposing of the patch after use.

    Step 4: Immediately apply the sticky side of the NicoDerm CQ patch to your skin. Press the patch firmly on your skin with the heel of your hand for at least 10 seconds. Make sure it sticks well to your skin, especially around the edges.

    Step 5: Wash your hands when you have finished applying the NicoDerm CQ patch. Nicotine on your hands could get into your eyes and nose, and cause stinging, redness or more serious problems.

    Step 6: After 16 or 24 hours, remove the patch you have been wearing. Fold the sticky ends of the used NicoDerm CQ patch together. Place in its pouch and discard where it will be out of reach of children and pets. Even used patches have enough nicotine to poison children and pets. Wash your hands.

    Step 7: Choose a different place on your skin to apply the next NicoDerm CQ patch and repeat Steps 1 to 6. Do not apply a new patch to a previously used skin site for at least one week.

  • Does the patch need to be placed on my arm?

    No, NicoDerm CQ can be placed anywhere on the body that is clean and dry at the time of application. Each day apply a new patch to a different place on your skin that is dry, clean and hairless.

  • How long should I keep a NicoDerm CQ patch on?

    NicoDerm CQ keeps a steady flow of nicotine for 16 or 24 hours. Watch the video below to find out more.

  • How long after my last cigarette can I start using NicoDerm CQ?

    Choose a start date for your quit and begin to use NicoDerm CQ that day. Upon reviewing the published literature data on the use of NRT products like NicoDerm CQ, the FDA has determined that the use of NRT products with cigarettes does not raise significant concerns.

    Consult the user’s guide for complete directions and other important information.

  • If nicotine is the problem, why should I wear a nicotine patch?

    NicoDerm CQ doesn’t contain any of the carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) that are found in cigarettes. The NicoDerm CQ program is designed to help you stop smoking. It helps you gradually wean off of nicotine over time until you do not need it anymore.

  • Can I use NicoDerm CQ to help quit chewing tobacco, smoking cigars, or pipe smoking?

    No, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of NicoDerm CQ only as a stop-smoking aid for cigarette smoking.

  • How do I know if my NicoDerm CQ patch is working?

    As you progress along your quit journey, your urge to smoke will decrease. Using NicoDerm CQ, you’ll get a leg up right out of the gate. Click the video for more information.

  • Can I gradually step down?

    Yes, when you gradually lower nicotine levels, your body adjusts. And following NicoDerm CQ’s 10- or 8-week program really does help improve your chances of quitting successfully.

  • Can I keep using NicoDerm CQ patches after 10 weeks?

    The standard NicoDerm CQ program lasts 8 or 10 weeks. If you think you need more than the 8 or 10 weeks, consult with your healthcare provider.

  • Can I cut the NicoDerm CQ patch?

    No, do not cut the patch in half or into smaller pieces.

  • Can the NicoDerm CQ patch get wet?

    Water will not harm the NicoDerm CQ patch if applied properly. You can bathe, swim, or shower for short periods of time while wearing the NicoDerm CQ patch. If you’re concerned that it could loosen on your skin, you can secure it with two pieces of medical or sports tape, placed in an “X” over the patch.

  • Can NicoDerm CQ be placed over a tattoo?

    We suggest wearing the patch on a part of your body that is not tattooed. It is unknown whether the tattoo would affect how the patch would work, or if the tattoo coloring would change.

  • Can NicoDerm CQ be worn in a tanning bed?

    The Original and Clear NicoDerm CQ patches can be worn while in the sun or tanning bed. However, the patches have not been demonstrated to be effective protection against sun exposure. Use of sunscreens with the patch is not recommended because it may affect the adhesion. Therefore, if you are planning on using the patch while tanning, you may want to place it in an area that will not be exposed.

  • What if my skin is sensitive?

    Ask a doctor before use if you have an allergy to adhesive tape or have skin problems because you are more likely to get rashes. Stop use and ask a doctor if skin redness caused by the patch does not go away after four days, or if your skin swells, or you get a rash.

  • What if my skin is very hairy?

    Choose a non-hairy, clean, dry area of skin.

  • Why aren't my patches sticking?

    We understand how frustrating it is when your patch does not stick. Lack of adhesion may be attributed to hot weather, patient skin type, or activity. Please be sure you have applied the patch properly: Choose a non-hairy, clean, dry area of skin. Press the patch firmly on your skin with the heel of your hand for at least 10 seconds. Make sure it sticks well to your skin, especially around the edges. Do not use moisturizing soap or lotion prior to applying the patch. If you are using a moisturizing soap, try changing soaps or apply medical adhesive tape over the patch to help keep it in place.


  • What is NicoDerm CQ?

    NicoDerm CQ is a unique patch with Extended Release SmartControl® Technology that helps prevent the urge to smoke all day long. NicoDerm CQ supports you through your day by delivering therapeutic nicotine via the patch’s specially designed layers. This technology ensures that the nicotine in the patch will not be delivered all at once, or run out too soon. NicoDerm CQ helps reduce the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking.

  • How does NicoDerm CQ work?

    Each NicoDerm CQ patch contains a special nicotine rate-controlling membrane that controls the release of nicotine into your bloodstream through your skin. The level of nicotine uptake is lower than that of cigarettes, and the program is designed to allow your body to gradually adjust to having less nicotine until you don’t need any.

  • Does NicoDerm CQ have side effects?

    Because the active ingredient in NicoDerm CQ is a low, therapeutic dose of nicotine, side effects can include vivid dreams. Some users may experience skin irritation with use of the NicoDerm CQ patch. Check out the video for information and solutions and be sure to carefully read the user guide inside your package for a complete list of possible side effects.

  • Is Clear NicoDerm CQ the same as Opaque NicoDerm CQ?

    The adhesive, the nicotine amounts, and the way you use the products are exactly the same. However, for the opaque patch only, to avoid possible burns, remove the patch before undergoing any MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) procedures.

  • Does Clear NicoDerm CQ or Opaque NicoDerm CQ have latex?

    No, neither patch contains any latex material.

Dos and don’ts

  • Can I smoke while wearing the NicoDerm CQ patch?

    The whole reason to use NicoDerm CQ is to quit smoking. Once you’ve made the decision to quit, you should choose a date to stop smoking and start using NicoDerm CQ that day. It is okay if you slip-up and have a cigarette. You can still continue your quit attempt and keep using NicoDerm CQ as directed. Just throw away your cigarettes and get back to your quit plan. The FDA has determined that there are no significant concerns with using NRT products like NicoDerm CQ at the same time as another nicotine-containing product like a cigarette.

  • Can I drink alcohol if I am wearing NicoDerm CQ?

    Right after quitting, you should try to avoid alcohol, coffee, and other beverages you associate with smoking.

  • Can I use NicoDerm CQ if I’m pregnant or nursing?

    If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, only use this medicine on the advice of your healthcare provider. Smoking can seriously harm your child. Try to stop smoking without using any nicotine replacement medicine. This medicine is believed to be safer than smoking. However, the risks to your child from this medicine are not fully known.

  • Can I use NicoDerm CQ if I have a medical condition?

    If you are concerned, your doctor or pharmacist is the best person to advise you based on your medical history and present state of health. We specifically recommend you ask a doctor before use if you have:

    • Heart disease, recent heart attack, or irregular heartbeat. Nicotine can increase your heart rate.
    • High blood pressure not controlled with medication. Nicotine can increase your blood pressure.

    Also, ask a doctor or pharmacist before using if you are:

    • Using a non-nicotine stop-smoking drug.
    • Using prescription medicine for depression or asthma. Your prescription dose may need to be adjusted.
  • Can I use NicoDerm CQ if I take other medications?

    Any questions about drug interactions between medications should be answered by your physician or other health care professional. Talk to your doctor if you take other medications. The active ingredient in NicoDerm CQ is nicotine, which is already in your system if you are a smoker. Talk to your doctor about this, especially if you use a non-nicotine stop-smoking drug or take prescription drugs for asthma or depression.

  • What if my child or pet ingests or comes in contact with a NicoDerm CQ patch?

    Make every effort to keep NicoDerm CQ out of reach of children and pets. In case of accidental ingestion or contact, get professional assistance or contact a poison control center immediately.

About quitting

  • How do I quit smoking?

    Every quit smoking journey is different but there are some simple ways to find your motivation. Watch the video to the right for some quit-smoking tips.

  • Why not quit cold turkey?

    Nicotine delivered by cigarettes is so addictive that people often underestimate how difficult it is to resist cravings using willpower alone. Nicorette delivers a controlled amount of nicotine to your system to help soothe your physical cravings and allows you to focus on mental aspects of your quit. Using Nicorette Replacement Therapy as directed doubles your chances of quitting.

    *Doubles your chances of quitting vs. placebo. Use as directed. Behavioral support program increases chances of success. Many people require several quit attempts to stop smoking. This product is part of an 8-12-week program.

  • Will I gain weight if I quit smoking?

    When it comes to quitting smoking, weight gain is a common concern. Even if you do gain a bit, it’s nothing compared to all the good things you’re doing for yourself. If you continue to gain weight after a few months, try to analyze what you’re doing differently. Reduce your fat intake, choose healthy snacks, and increase your physical activity to help burn off extra calories.

  • How do I bounce back from a slip-up?

    Don’t be discouraged by slip-ups. Learn from them. Use a slip-up to find your smoking triggers and then avoid the situations that cause them. Watch the video for more information.

  • I've tried to quit smoking several times, but it's never worked. Why can't I quit?

    You can. You just haven't succeeded yet. Even if you've made it a day, a week, or a month — you've made it. Try to learn from your mistake. Figure out why you fell off the wagon so you can avoid putting yourself in similar situations in the future, choose a new quit date, and then try again. This time, you may be able to quit for good!

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