Increased attempts to quit smoking follow introduction of over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies

Nearly 40 percent of U.S. smokers try to stop annually

Savannah, GA, Feb. 20, 2002Since nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) became available as a nonprescription treatment to help Americans stop smoking, the number of adults attempting to quit smoking significantly increased to nearly 40 percent, according to a study of U.S. census data scheduled for presentation on Friday at the Eighth Annual Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco in Savannah, Ga. The findings add to the scientific evidence that providing over-the-counter (OTC) treatment options for smokers increases quit attempts.

In the same period that nicotine replacement therapies, such as the nicotine patch or nicotine gum, became available over-the-counter, we see more Americans trying to stop smoking, says study author Saul Shiffman, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. This may mean that the easier accessibility of OTC products has positively impacted U.S. public health. Of course, other smoking cessation efforts are certainly part of this success story, as well. Its a win-win situation for all Americans who want to lead healthier lives.

Of the 48 million current adult U.S. smokers, approximately 70 percentsome 34 millionreport they would like to stop smoking, and 1.2 million successfully quit permanently, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved prescription-only NRT in the form of a chewing gum, Nicorette, in 1984 and a transdermal patch, NicoDermCQ, in 1991. Both products help relieve smoking withdrawal symptoms by providing temporary, alternate nicotine sources to smoking, allowing a person to gradually reduce his or her dependence on nicotine, a quitting method recommended by physicians. The FDA reclassified the NRT gum and the patch as OTC products in 1996.

For the analysis, Shiffman and his colleagues used data from the National

Contact: Teresa Gatto
Porter Novelli

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