Smokers who use the
Nicotine Patch prior to Quitting Smoking are Twice as Likely to Quit -
Duke University Research
Dr. Jed E Rose
Smokers that used the nicotine patch before they quit smoking were twice
as likely to quit as those that did not. It is important to not however
that the patches are not recommended for people that still smoke.
There are other forms of nicotine replacement products, including gum,
nasal sprays, inhalers, lozenges, and tablets.
Researchers at the Duke University Center for Nicotine and Smoking
Cessation Research (DNSCR) say that smokers who use the patch before
quitting smoking will double their chances of success.
Although smoking rates have gone down over the past few decades, there
are still 50 million smokers in the United States. More than half of
these smokers say they want to give up the habit for good.
There are concerns about nicotine overdose when people use the patch
while they still smoke. In fact, the labels warn users against smoking
while applying the patch. The symptoms of such an overdose include
nausea and vomiting. It could also cause death.
The Duke University researchers tested their theory on 96 smokers.
These participants smoked one pack per day and wanted to quit. Half of
the smokers wore patches one week prior to quitting and the other half
wore a placebo patch. They were also assign specific cigarettes to
smoke. The cigarettes ranged from low tar, low nicotine, and some
received cigarettes with almost all of the nicotine removed.
All of the participants were given the cessation drug Inversine on their
“quit date”. They were also given patches containing different amounts
of nicotine, including some with no nicotine at all.
After a month, half of the smokers who had wore the nicotine patches
before quitting were able to quit smoking. One quarter of the
participants who wore the placebo were able to quit smoking. Six months
later, 22% of the pre-cessation nicotine patch users were still
smoke-free, compared with 12% of the participants who wore the placebo.
Dr. Jed E. Rose, Director of the Duke CNSCR and Medical Research
Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, believes the FDA needs to
re-evaluate its current warning against smoking while wearing the patch,
if their findings are confirmed. He told WebMd that “What these studies
seem to show is that rather than getting a lot more nicotine, people
tend to compensate for the nicotine they get through the patch.”
Smokers who get the nicotine in their bodies tend to crave fewer
cigarettes. Rose compares this effect to sitting down for a big meal
with a full stomach.
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