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Quitting Smoking Gradually Improved with Nicotine Gum

Rates of gradual smoking reduction, smoking abstinence significantly increased with use of nicotine gum

FRIDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Nicotine gum markedly increases the probability that a person will be able to gradually quit smoking, according to research published online Jan. 6 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Saul Shiffman, Ph.D., of Pinney Associates in Pittsburgh, and colleagues conducted a multicenter, controlled, double-blind study that randomized 3,297 smokers to receive either placebo or nicotine gum (2-mg or 4-mg doses). Patients self-administered their treatment in a simulated over-the-counter setting. All study participants expressed a desire to quit smoking gradually. The study continued over eight-week periods during 1999 to 2000 and 2007 to 2008.

Smokers who used nicotine gum were significantly more likely than those using placebo to achieve initial smoking abstinence of at least 24 hours (26 percent versus 18.5 percent), an effect true for both dosage groups, the investigators found. Additionally, nicotine gum significantly increased the rates of both 28-day (10.3 percent versus 3.9 percent) and six-month (5.9 percent versus 2.1 percent) abstinence. The researchers report that smokers using nicotine gum were significantly more likely to achieve 50 percent or more reduction in smoking level following the initial two weeks.

"These findings demonstrate that smokers who wish to quit smoking by gradual reduction can increase their success by using nicotine gum to facilitate reduction and cessation," the authors write.

The study was supported by GlaxoSmithKline. Several of the study authors report financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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