I'm sorry I just saw this...
Actually, our FDA has actually ok'd use beyond 10 weeks now for patches if the user needs that time.
Here is a bit of what I've read - and then my take on things. When we smoke our body makes a lot of additional dopamine receptors (like, millions) for nicotine to attach to. When we stop smoking, over time (usually 3 to 4 months), those extra receptors essentially die out and we are down to our original pre-smoking amount of receptors. Here's the amazing thing: They are finding that the only nicotine that supports the maintenance of these additional receptors is tobacco-based nicotine! NRTs, vape, none of those nicotine sources support them. So even though you are getting your nicotine on the patch - these additional receptors are dying off as if you stopped smoking. That's pretty amazing. These receptors - when denied their nicotine - are the ones that will SCREAM for it when you quit. So the fewer of them in your brain when you finally go cold turkey, the better from a crave standpoint.
I can tell you that I did not have massive craves whatsoever when I came off the patch. None. Now, all the other withdrawal symptoms were waiting for me. But that "all I can think of every waking moment" crave fest in the first couple of days? Never had it. My theory is that since I wore the patch for 3 months - by the time I went off them all the additional receptors were gone. And that is why I think they want us on NRTs and Chantix for at least 3 months.
Oh, by the way, they are finding that tapering down to patch 2 and 3 does nothing for the quitter. They would be just as well going the whole time at 21mg (or wherever they started) and then just stop. I think I agree with that. I found the tapering part to be the hardest part of the process.
Anyway. Just my two cents.