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 20 February 2018

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News

There is effective help for smokers who want to quit

Effective strategies are available to smokers and health care professionals to help people quit smoking.

News image

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The Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Review by Dr Tim Lancaster and colleagues, analyzed treatments ranging from nicotine replacement therapy to acupuncture.

The review, published in the August 5 issue of the BMJ, finds that smokers who receive brief advice from doctors during routine care are 1.69 times more likely to be successful in their attempts to quit smoking.

Even brief advice from a doctor helps quit rate.

The Cochrane Review examined 9 studies into the effectiveness of individual counselling. Smokers receiving individual support are 1.55 times as likely to quit successfully than smokers receiving only brief advice from their doctors.

Self-help materials, such as written manuals, videotapes and computer programs were found to have no additional benefit over personal advice, however, self-help is preferable to no intervention at all.

A meta-analysis of nicotine replacement therapy found that all forms of the treatment are successful, overall increasing the quit rate 1.71-fold.

"All forms of nicotine replacement therapy are effective."

Dr Tim Lancaster.

Studies into pharmacological interventions show that the antidepressants buproprion and nortriptyline may be effective treatments, increasing the likelihood of quitting by 2.73 times and 2.83 times respectively. However, these figures are based on a very limited number of trials.

The Cochrane Review finds that anxiolytics are ineffective, and that clonidine causes appreciable sedation and postural hypotension.

Current cigarette smoking will cause an estimated 450 million deaths in the next 50 years.

Finally, the effects on quitting smoking of aversion therapy, acupuncture and hypnotherapy are unclear.

BMJ 2000; 321: 355-8
08 August 2000

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