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Cessation products aren’t too effective, researchers say

Research published in the medical journal JAMA suggests cessation products like nicotine patches aren’t making too much of a dent in helping people quit tobacco– but a former smoker said she wouldn’t have quit without their help.

In the study, researchers tested the products’ effectiveness in three groups of people. One group used nicotine patches only, another only used the prescription medication varenicline, and the last group used a combination of products.

After 26 weeks of use, the rate of abstinence ranged from 23 percent to 27 percent. After 52 weeks, it ranged from 19 percent to 21 percent.

Despite the low results, Darlene Lester believes her smoke-free life is thanks to cessation products. She’s been smoke-free for five years, before that she’d been smoking for 33 years.

Lester describes smoking as a “chain around the neck,” because “your whole day is planned around your cigarettes.”

Lester now helps teaches the FreshStart cessation program at Southeastern Idaho Public Health, which incorporates a group and individual approach in helping people quit tobacco use. This includes using cessation products if necessary.

Whether or not they’re effective, SIPH’s tobacco cessation coordinator said if a product helps someone then it’s an effective cessation tool. She also said it’s important to couple cessation products with other psychological things to help the quitting process.

For example:

Determine why you’re using tobacco. (Pleasure, stress, relaxation, etc.) Define why you’re quitting. (For yourself, for family and friends, etc.) Limit the location of where you allow yourself to smoke. (If you smoke inside your home, maybe try smoking outside.) Postpone when you have your first cigarette. (Instead of having one at 7 a.m., try having it at 9 a.m. instead, and then keep pushing back the time.) Quit with a buddy. Recognize your successes and reward yourself when you do.

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