January 8, 2009

Nicotine gum also for quitting gradually

Nicotine gum has been in use for two decades to help smokers quit smoking abruptly but two-thirds of smokers prefer to quit gradually, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare found that smokers who are trying to quit gradually can also be helped by nicotine gum.

Almost 3,300 smokers participated in the double-blind, placebo-controlled study at 27 study sites. 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 randomized to receive either the active gum or a placebo, yielding 4 approximately equal groups.

The researchers assessed initial 24-hour abstinence and 28-day abstinence, and participants were followed up at six months to determine overall success rates for quitting.

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found the odds of smokers achieving 24-hour abstinence were 40 percent to 90 percent higher using active gum compared to placebo and 2 to 4.7 times higher for attaining 28-day abstinence.

At the end of six months, while absolute quit rates were somewhat low, the odds of quitting were about 2 to 6 times greater for active gum users than for placebo users, with a quit rate of 6 percent in the 4-mg group, the study said.