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Other sources of nicotine may be key to kicking the smoking habit 

Arthur Jeske DMD, PhD; James Zahrowski DMD, MS, PharmD


Systematic Review Author(s)

Moore D, Aveyard P, Connock M, Wang D, Fry-Smith A, Barton P

Summary Title

Nicotine replacement therapy can increase sustained smoking abstinence in recalcitrant smokers



Placebo: (pronounced pluh-see-bo) This is a fake medicine sometimes given to people in scientific studies.  The researchers want to see if people say they feel better after taking it.  Then they can see if the real medicine helps people more than the placebo.

Smokers can quit using tobacco in a number of ways.  For example, they can just quit on the spot or "go cold turkey."  Other examples include counseling to help them change their behaviors or tobacco replacement therapy.

Tobacco replacement therapy is a way to deliver nicotine (which is the addictive chemical in tobacco) to smokers without exposing them to all the other harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke. Some examples of nicotine replacement therapy include the nicotine patch, nicotine gum, hard candies that contain nicotine or nicotine inhalers.  The authors of this systematic review wondered if people who had no plan to stop smoking would give up tobacco if treated with nicotine replacement therapy.

They looked at seven studies, involving 2,767 smokers.  The smokers had not planned to stop smoking, but they tried nicotine replacement therapy as part of the studies.  Some studies only used nicotine replacement gum others used an inhaler.  One study gave smokers a choice of which nicotine replacement therapy they would like to use.  In some of the studies smokers also recieved motivational support to encourage them to stop smoking.  All of the studies compared the nicotine replacement therapies to a placebo. 

Authors' findings
The authors found that 6 percent of smokers, who really had no plan to quit smoking, stopped using tobacco for six months after starting tobacco replacement therapy.  Only 3 percent of the smokers who  were given a placebo instead of the nicotine replacement therapy stopped using tobacco for that amount of time.  Smokers in the nicotine replacement therapy groups tended to experience nausea more often than people who took the placebo.

Nicotine replacement therapy seems to be a promising approach to help people stop smoking.


Does nicotine replacement therapy help smokers, who hadn't planned to quit immediately, stop smoking?


Yes, studies showed that providing smokers, who had no plans to quit immediately, with a source of nicotine other than tobacco seemed to help people in the studies quit smoking for at least six-months.