New Smoking Study Suggests Quitting with an Aide Is Just as Ineffective as Cold Turkey

The American people spend $1.5 billion dollars every year on smoking cessation devices. That's a huge market for a product that's supposed to work the first time. A forthcoming study suggests that, in the real world, the patch is no "magic bullet."

The 787-person study is set for online publication Monday in the online journal Tobacco Control and followed adults who had quit smoking within the previous two years. It found that in 1/3 of the cases, the person started smoking again. Of that 30 percent, researchers found no difference in the relapse rate between people who used cessesion aides and those who did not.

This study contradicts recent studies by the FDA that found smokers who did use aides were three times more likely to quit for good. However, other studies on the subject have found some smokers are actually more likely to relapse for having used the aide. As the researchers point out, "This may indicate that some heavily dependent smokers perceive NRT [nicotine replacement therapy] as a sort of ‘magic' pill, and upon realizing it is not, they find themselves without support in their quitting efforts, doomed to failure."

This difference in findings may be in part due to the fact that most people in the Tobacco Control study did not complete the requisite eight-week cycle, suggests GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. Had they followed through, as clinical trial participants did, their results would have potentially improved.

I can say I've successfully quit smoking by using the patch but have never gone with the gum. What cessation aides have worked for you? Let us know in the comments. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go have a smoke. [LA Times via DVice - Image: Paul Cowan / Shutterstock]