Nicotine therapy is helping even more smokers try to quit
Former smokers often say giving up cigarettes was the hardest thing they ever did.
A few years ago, quitting got a bit easier when nicotine patches and gum became available without a prescription, making nicotine replacement therapy more readily available. As a result, a new study says, more smokers than ever are deciding to try to kick the habit.
Researcher Saul Shiffman reports a 4 percent increase in those trying to quit since such prescription-only aids became available over the counter. While that may seem a small change, it translates to an increase of about 2 million more smokers trying to quit, said Shiffman, a psychology professor at the University of Pittsburgh. The study was presented at the annual Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco meeting in Savannah.
By examining U.S. census data, Shiffman and his colleagues found that in 1999, nearly 40 percent of American smokers had tried to stop during the previous year, an increase from 35.6 percent in 1995, the year before the FDA allowed these nicotine products to be sold over the counter.