Nicotine Gum Effective For Gradual Smoking Reduction And Cessation
has been in use for over 20 years to help smokers quit abruptly yet
close to two-thirds of smokers report that they would prefer to quit
gradually. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare have now found that smokers who are
trying to quit gradually can also be helped by nicotine gum.
of the first study to test the efficacy and safety of using nicotine
gum to assist cessation by gradual reduction are published in the
February issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
smokers participated in this double-blind, placebo-controlled study.
Participants were enrolled in 27 study sites across the US.
Participants were allowed to choose between 2-mg and 4-mg doses of
nicotine gum, with the higher doses generally being selected by heavier
smokers. Within each dose group, participants were then randomized to
receive either the active gum or a placebo, yielding 4 approximately
assessed initial 24-hour abstinence and 28-day abstinence, and
participants were followed up at 6 months to determine overall success
rates for quitting. The odds of smokers achieving 24-hour abstinence
were 40 to 90% higher using active gum compared to placebo, and 2 to
4.7 times higher for attaining 28-day abstinence. At the end of 6
months, while absolute quit rates were somewhat low, the odds of
quitting were about 2 to 6 times greater for active gum users as for
the placebo users, with a quit rate of 6% in the 4-mg group.
also evaluated the safety of using nicotine gum while reducing smoking.
The authors report that no unexpected adverse events were observed,
even among those who most heavily smoked and used gum, concluding that
"Using nicotine gum while smoking carries little to no incremental
the article, Saul Shiffman, states, "This is the first study to
demonstrate that smokers wanting to quit by gradual reduction can
substantially increase their success by using nicotine gum to
facilitate reduction and cessation. Nicotine gum helped smokers reduce
smoking, achieve initial abstinence and maintain abstinence. The
advantage of active nicotine replacement therapy treatment is
particularly evident for heavy smokers treated with the 4-mg nicotine
gum, for which treatment increased the odds of quitting for 6 months
sixfold. This expands treatment options for the substantial proportion
of smokers who prefer quitting gradually, who have relatively low
chances of quitting and who have heretofore been implicitly excluded
from the use of NRT to help them quit. Offering this new way to use NRT
may enhance the appeal and reach of a treatment that increases success,
and thereby have positive public health impact. Given the ongoing
extraordinary health toll from smoking, consideration should be given
to novel approaches that increase success in quitting."
For more information on the University of Pittsburgh and GlaxoSmithKline, visit www.pitt.edu and www.gsk.com.