MONDAY, Nov. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Quitting smoking isn't easy for most people but medication and counseling can help them succeed, according to the results of two new studies.
In the first of the two reports published in the Nov. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, a team led by Dr. Anne Joseph, co-leader of the Prevention & Etiology Research Program at the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota, tried helping people by keeping in touch with them and reminding them to quit smoking.
"We looked at a model that treated smoking as a chronic condition like high blood pressure or diabetes," Joseph said. "We know that using a combination of behavioral therapy and medication therapy, people do better than quitting on their own," she said.
For the study, more than 400 smokers received counseling over the phone along with nicotine replacement therapy (such as patches, gums, lozenges) for a month. Next, the participants were randomly assigned to receive two final calls, or more calls plus nicotine replacement therapy for another 48 weeks.
After 18 months, 30 percent of those who received calls and nicotine replacement hadn't smoked for six months compared with 23.5 percent of those who didn't receive long-term help, the researchers found.
In addition, people given long-term counseling tried to stop smoking more often than those who received only a few calls. And among those given long-term counseling, even those who did not quit smoked less than the people who received only a few calls.
Joseph's team assumed people would fail along the way and make several attempts to quit. The researchers reframed that into a positive step, she said.
"This approach takes a chronic disease treatment model, instead of a one-shot model," she explained. "If you want to quit smoking, you have to keep working at it and having your treatment adjus
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