I quit smoking a few years, after having smoked for 30 years. I was part of a stop-smoking study, and I was given nictotine patches (all the steps, exactly as described on the box the patches come in), group counseling, and Zyban (also known as Wellbutrin). I had a bad reaction to the Zyban, and I stopped using it in a week, which was before my quit date. So I quit using the patches and the group counseling alone (along with some reading that I did on my own).
I still had cravings, but the patches took a bit of the edge off of the cravings. Also, they helped me keep my mood up. I could tell, because there were a couple of mornings when I was feeling depressed for no reason I could put my finger on, and then I remembered that I had forgotten to put on a fresh patch -- and when I put on a new one, my depression went away.
You have the option of wearing them 24 hours a day, or taking them off while you sleep. I wore them 24 hours, and I had wonderfully vivid dreams. I loved my patch-induced dreams!
Your mileage may vary. People in my group had all sorts of different reactions. Some, like me, loved it and had great dreams. Some had disturbing dreams, so they took the patch off at night. There was one person whose skin got irritated and he stopped using it altogether.
I had no problems whatsoever, and I would recommend that people try it. The key to stopping smoking, in my opinion, is to keep on trying different methods until you find the ones that works for you. Also to focus on the immediate gains of not smoking -- saving money, smelling better, more energy, freedom from being chained to the need to go have a smoke.