Nicotine Replacement Therapy Before Quitting May Help

Recent studies suggest that beginning nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) — nicotine-infused gums, patches, etc. — before quitting cigarettes may improve long-term cessation success, Reuters reported June 25.

A study of 1,100 New Zealanders — half of whom began NRT two weeks before they quit cigarettes, and another half that started NRT after — found only a 2 percent difference in abstinence success after six months. When combined with previous pre-quitting NRT studies, however, success increased by approximately 25 percent overall.

The findings suggest a “small-to-moderate” benefit to pre-quitting therapy, University of Auckland researchers wrote. Side effects from the pre-quitting and regular NRT groups were approximately the same.

The study is published in the July 2010 issue of the journal Addiction.

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