The first stop for most smokers in their quest to quit is Nicotine replacement therapy. There are gums and patches of many differenting strengths, but they have one thing in common. They do not work.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent every year by desperate smokers. Many try them over and over again in vain. A testimony to their effectiveness is the fact that many of my clients admit to smoking while wearing patches.

So if nicotine was the big addiction then how could someone still smoke while having plastered patches over their shoulders, and certainly if absorbing pesticide (nicotine) into your skin or mouth was the answer then smokers of the world would be able to easily quit their habit .

So why is it so popular? The number one reason is an incredibly successful long term marketing campaign by pharmaceutical companies which was so clever that they drawn in government health campaigns and the medical profession.

So how can they claim success for nicotine replacement therapy? Picture these tow scenarios.

1. You buy your patches, and take them home, determined to succeed, maybe there are other smokers there, maybe you sit in your favorite smoking spot, or maybe you have had a stressful day.

You put your patches on, and make a coffee or have a beer to relax. Things you normally do with a smoke. You go to work and watch the smokers file out at morning tea. After a day or two you give in and bum a smoke. The success rate for this scenario is rated between 0% and 2%. Macquarie University study simply stated that it does not work. In the UK under the freedom of information act they disclosed a 2% success.

2. You answer an advertisement for a university controlled quit smoking study. You are inducted into the process with a group of people. Given free patches and instrucated in their use.

You return periodically for follow ups, and your progress is monitored. The success in this environment is cited as 23%. So why the difference? It's because you are primed to succeed.

In such an environment corn flakes would probably be just as successful. What is curious is that even in a supportive situation the result is still on the low side.

One problem with all of the various types of replacement is that they can not address the ingrained triggers of a smoking life time, and of course attempting to quit by absorbing a poison used as a pesticide.