This was no small study, and it emphasizes in a big way how powerful an addiction nicotine is. British researchers followed 1,600 smokers who were trying to quit.
Half the group used the nicotine patch for 12 weeks. The other half got a patch, too, but for the sake of the study, that group didn't know it was a fake.
After one year, only 153 out of 1,600 had been able to kick the habit. And interestingly, it didn't matter much whether the successful non-smokers used the patch or not.
11% quit with the patch, but 7% who thought they had the patch also quit. Eight years later, researchers checked on those quitters, and overall, only 80 out of the original 1,600 were still smoke free. The study is in the British Medical Journal.