Friday, February 6, 2009

The Patch and How to Use It


Take the Fagerstrom test.

The U.K. Guardian, in partnership with the British Medical Journal, recently offered its readers a short version of the Fagerstrom test, a questionnaire used for assessing the intensity of physical addiction to nicotine. The Guardian article then made recommendations about which patch strength smokers should be using, based on their scores.

Here is a longer version of the Fagerstrom test, with scoring assessment, followed by the Guardian’s recommendations about patches:

Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence *

1. How soon after you wake up do you smoke your first cigarette?
-- After 60 minutes
(0)
-- 31-60 minutes
(1)
-- 6-30 minutes
(2)
-- Within 5 minutes
(3)

2. Do you find it difficult to refrain from smoking in places where it is forbidden?
-- No
(0)
-- Yes
(1)

3. Which cigarette would you hate most to give up?
-- The first in the morning
(1)
-- Any other
(0)

4. How many cigarettes per day do you smoke?
-- 10 or less
(0)
-- 11-20
(1)
-- 21-30
(2)
-- 31 or more
(3)

5. Do you smoke more frequently during the first hours after awakening than during the rest of the day?
-- No
(0)
-- Yes
(1)

6. Do you smoke even if you are so ill that you are in bed most of the day?
-- No
(0)
-- Yes
(1)

* Heatherton TF, Kozlowski LT, Frecker RC, Fagerstrom KO. The Fagerstrom Test for
Nicotine Dependence: A revision of the Fagerstrom Tolerance Questionnaire. British Journal of Addictions. 1991; 86:1119-27

0-2 Very low dependence

3-4 Low dependence

5 Medium dependence

6-7 High dependence

8-10 Very high dependence

[Scores under 5: “Your level of nicotine dependence is still low. You should act now before your level of dependence increases. “]

[Score of 5: “Your level of nicotine dependence is moderate. If you don’t quit soon, your level of dependence on nicotine will increase until you may be seriously addicted.”]

[Score over 7: “Your level of dependence is high. You aren’t in control of your smoking–-it is in control of you!”]

The U.K. Guardian’s scoring assessment

Which patch to use:

--2 points = light nicotine dependence. Start with the 7 mg nicotine patch.

--3 or 4 points = moderate nicotine dependence. Start with the 14 mg nicotine patch.

--5 or 6 points = heavy nicotine dependence. Start with the 21 mg nicotine patch.

Graphic Credit: Electronic Illustrators Group

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