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Therapy Combination Helps NYC Firemen Quit Smoking

More than one-third of firefighters in tobacco cessation study abstinent after one year

FRIDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- An anti-smoking program that combines counseling, treatment, and nicotine medication helped 37 percent of rescue workers from the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) to quit smoking for at least a year, according to the New York City Fire Department World Trade Center Tobacco Cessation Study published in the April issue of Chest.

Matthew P. Bars, M.S., of the New York City Fire Department in Brooklyn, and colleagues studied 220 cigarette smokers from the FDNY enrolled in a free comprehensive smoking-cessation program. Twenty percent of participants took three kinds of nicotine-replacement or cessation therapies, 64 percent took two, 14 percent took one, and 3 percent did not use any medication. Fourteen percent of participants also took sustained-release bupropion.

Three months into the program, 47 percent of participants were not smoking; the number fell to 36 percent after six months, and was 37 percent after a year.

"Tobacco dependency treatment using combination nicotine medications is effective and safe," the authors write. "Future studies should consider the following: (1) both history of tobacco use and withdrawal symptoms to determine the number and dose of nicotine medications; and (2) continuing combination treatment for [more than] three months."

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