It seems smoking cessation has actually been harmed by Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). Although popular opinion is that the patch, gum, etc. ease the withdrawal symptoms, they actually just drag out the physical withdrawal and you're more likely to relapse. The theory is that since you still have nicotine in your system you still respond to nicotine reducing stimulus (stress, alcohol) and you still have strong cravings.
Having quit cold turkey 8 days ago I must say this has been a lot easier. The first 3 days sucked, but now I no longer feel the strong pangs when I'm stressed out. While on the patch I felt that weeks into being on the patch.
Remember the patch, gum etc. are big business too.
They don't really want you to quit. They want you to be quiting forever.
Lot's of good advice here: why quit
Just voted for the Austin smoking ban too. onwardaustin