Medications help adults quit smoking

September 11, 2012

Adults are more likely to successfully quit smoking if they take bupropion, varenicline (Chantix), or a nicotine patch, than those who attempt to quit without medication, according to the results of an ongoing prospective cohort survey published by the journal Addiction.

Adults are more likely to successfully quit smoking if they take bupropion, varenicline (Chantix), or a nicotine patch, than those who attempt to quit without medication, according to the results of an ongoing prospective cohort survey published by the journal Addiction.

Those who used varenicline were six times more likely to abstain from cigarettes for 6 months than participants who did not use any medication (adjusted OR=5.84, 95% CI=2.12-16.12). Participants who used a nicotine patch or bupropion were four times more likely than non-medicated participants to be cigarette-free for 6 months (adjusted OR=4.09, 95% CI=1.72-9.74 for nicotine users and adjusted OR=3.94, 95% CI=0.87-17.80 for bupropion users), the survey showed. The survey was part of the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey, initially developed to evaluate psychosocial and behavioral impacts of various national-level policies.

In the survey, more than 7,400 adult smokers from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, were enrolled in an effort to attempt to quit smoking. They were surveyed each year between 2002 and 2009 and asked about the number of times they tried to quit smoking and what kind of medications, if any, they used during their attempts. About 30% of participants were lost to attrition each year, but they were replaced to maintain about 2,000 participants per country.

To participate in the study, each person had to have reported smoking at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and had to smoke at least once during the 30 days prior to the baseline survey.

Results from the study also showed that the participants who tried to quit smoking without the aid of medication tended to be younger, have lower incomes, and belonged to ethnic or racial minority groups.

“However, even among those using these medications to help them stop smoking, relapse to smoking remains the norm, thus reinforcing the need for efforts to develop and deliver more effective treatments to help smokers quit,” the authors wrote.