New Report Suggests Will Power Alone Not Effective In Helping Smokers Quit
People who wish to stop smoking can significantly increase their chances of success by using medications such as bupropion, nicotine patch, gum, or an inhaler, according to a new report by researchers at the RTI International-University of North Carolin
People who wish to stop smoking can significantly increase their chances of success by using medications such as bupropion, nicotine patch, gum, or an inhaler, according to a new report by researchers at the RTI International-University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Evidence-based Practice Center.
The report, published in the September issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, found that self-help smoking cessation strategies alone are often ineffective.
The article is based on a systematic review of 43 studies that assessed tobacco cessation treatments used by adults, including those in special populations such as people with psychiatric conditions or those who have substance abuse problems. The studies included randomized controlled trials, observational studies and systematic reviews conducted from 1980 through 2005.
"Based on our review of the available research, it seems fairly clear that people who want to quit smoking would be well advised to combine their self-help efforts with counseling and pharmacotherapies," said Leah Ranney, Ph.D., lead author of the report and researcher at Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina. "Although we could not identify an ideal combination of smoking cessation therapies within the existing research, the available evidence suggests that nicotine replacement therapy is among the most effective."
According to the article, the use of nicotine replacement therapies more than doubles the likelihood that a person will successfully quit smoking. Combining nicotine patches with other nicotine replacement products such as nicotine gum or a nicotine inhaler increases cessation rates even further.
"Self-help strategies alone do not significantly affect smoking cessation rates," said Cathy Melvin, Ph.D., co-author of the report, also from the Sheps Center at UNC. "However, counseling and pharmacotherapies, such as bupropion or nicotine replacement therapies, used alone or in combination significantly increase success rates of attempts to quit smoking."
According to the authors, populations with psychiatric conditions and substance abuse problems have higher rates of smoking and in general show a lack of responsiveness to smoking cessation treatments.
"Unfortunately, the available research does not offer any additional insights regarding smokers with psychiatric disorders or conditions involving substance abuse and addiction," said Linda Lux, a researcher from RTI International who co-authored the report. "However, the available research indicates that these smokers would benefit from the same treatments recommended for the general population."
The evidence review was conducted by RTI-UNC Evidence-based Practice Center, a collaboration between RTI and the five health professions schools and the Sheps Center at UNC. The project was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
Results were presented in June 2006 at a State of the Science conference convened by the National Institutes of Health.
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