A new study by the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, indicated that despite the promising results obtained in clinical trials, smoking cessation medications alone are not enough to help smokers quit.
“Thirty four percent of people who are trying to quit smoking use pharmaceutical aids and yet most are not successful,” said senior study author John P. Pierce, PhD, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center. “The results of randomized trials that tested these interventional drugs showed the promise of doubling cessation rates, but that has not translated into the real world.”
The study, was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute earlier this week, and analyzed the efficacy of three smoking cessation medications that are prescribed by medical professionals: varenicline, bupropion and nicotine replacement therapy (patch). The researchers collected data from the Current Population Survey-Tobacco Use Supplement, a U.S. Census survey of adults that looks at behavior related to tobacco use.
The findings indicated that these pharmaceutical aids are only effective when used in combination with intensive behavioral counseling. “In these analyses, matching helped reduce bias,” said first author Eric Leas, PhD, “Still, we found no evidence that the pharmaceutical cessation aids that we assessed improved the chances of successfully quitting. This was both surprising, given the promise of smoking cessation seen in randomized trials, and disappointing because of the need for interventions to help smokers quit.”
The study participants had the following options to choose from:: (1) no aid, (2) support from friends and family, (3) other aids (counseling, quitline, books, pamphlets, videos, clinic, class, web program), (4) e-cigarettes, (5) other combustible tobacco (cigars, cigarillos, filtered cigars, pipe tobacco, hookah), (6) smokeless tobacco (dip, chew, or snuff, and dissolvable tobacco), (7) pharmaceutical nicotine (NRT: patch, gum, inhaler, nasal spray, lozenge or pill), and (8) prescription drugs (Chantix, varenicline, Wellbutrin, Zyban, or bupropion).
Another study indicated that e-cigs are the most effective cessation aids
“Use of e-cigarettes was the only method with higher odds of users being a former smoker than unaided attempts (OR = 1.42, 95% CI 1.12–1.81). Current use of e-cigarettes among current (34%) and former (54%) smokers was significantly higher than current use of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT),” read the study results.
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