Introduction Prior research has shown that the transdermal nicotine patch is a safe and effective aid to smoking cessation, but adherence to the directed use of the nicotine patch is often low. Few studies have examined participant-reported reasons for non-adherence to nicotine patch therapy during a quit attempt. Aims The aim of this study was to evaluate adherence to nicotine patch therapy and to identify participant-reported reasons for non-adherence. Methods Participants were 201 current daily smokers who were offered 6-weekly group treatment sessions and were asked to report nicotine patch use and barriers to use. Results Seventy-one (35.3%) participants were adherent for the first 28 days of treatment and 130 (64.7%) participants were non-adherent. Commonly reported reasons for non-adherence were forgetting to put the patch on (30%), not liking the experienced side effects (15%), resuming smoking (10%) and difficulty affording the cost of the patches (7%). Conclusions Participant- reported barriers to adherence of nicotine patch therapy can be mitigated with advice from healthcare providers. Some examples of advice to patients could include carrying an extra patch, using community resources to obtain free or reduced cost nicotine patches, reviewing the effectiveness of nicotine replacement, and explaining side effects associated with the use of the nicotine patch.
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