Looking for that Magic Pill

New studies on nicotine replacement products show they aren’t as effective as first thought.

Prior to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approving the products in the 1990s, clinical trial results showed that volunteers using these nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) were up to three times more likely to quit.  However, the latest studies show NRT provide little benefit, and those using the products are more likely to relapse than smokers who quit cold turkey.   NRTs include nicotine patches, inhalers, gum, lozenges, pills, and nasal sprays.

According to researchers, the reason behind the relapse is that many smokers look at NRT as a “magic pill” that will do all the work of quitting.   But GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, which makes several NRTs, said most of the smokers in the current study did not use the product as intended for the full eight weeks, lessening their chance of success. The company claims NRT has helped millions of smokers to quit, when used as directed.

Researchers from this latest study suggest policymakers need to rethink their strategies for helping smokers quit.  Most of the $1.5 billion spent on NRT in the U.S. comes from public health programs which should use the money to discourage smoking by raising tobacco taxes and providing anti-smoking campaigns.

The purpose of using nicotine replacement therapy is that you are ready to give up smoking completely.   Work with your doctor to find the NRT that is right for you and follow the instructions.

Stop smoking gumPerhaps GlaxoSmithKline has a point when they claim smokers aren’t using the products as intended.

Click here for the article.

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