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Recent Safety News About Smoking Cessation Therapies Leaving Smokers Confused, More Reluctant to Quit

New data indicates smokers may avoid medication when quitting

PITTSBURGH, June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- There has been recent news regarding the safety of a prescription smoking cessation therapy. A new survey found that this news has raised safety concerns and caused confusion among a significant percentage of smokers who are aware of the issues and has left them reluctant to quit. Moreover, the survey shows many smokers are avoiding medication to aid in their cessation efforts.(A)

The public health stakes are high as tobacco use kills five million people a year.(B) The majority of people who try quitting do so without assistance.(C) Less than five percent of people who try to quit on their own (cold-turkey) are successful long-term.(D) This underscores the need to get people help with medication when quitting smoking in order to address this important public health issue. Quitting with assistance can more than double one's chances of success.(E)

According to the survey, 31 percent of smokers aware of the safety issues said the recent news concerning a prescription stop-smoking medication has affected their decision to quit smoking or delayed their attempt. For example, almost half (48 percent) of aware smokers have decided to avoid using medications that help people quit.(A) This may be a direct result of incorrectly attributing the safety news to other products. In fact, two-thirds of aware smokers surveyed (67 percent) incorrectly attributed the safety news to other cessation aids, such as over-the-counter (OTC) therapeutic nicotine (TN),(A) which are approved as safe and effective by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"What's concerning about these findings is that the recent safety news is affecting smokers' decisions to quit. What smokers need to understand is the reports do not involve other smoking cessation aids such as over-the-counter therapeutic nicotine," said Dr. Michael F. Roizen, founder of RealAge, Inc., Chief Wellness Officer of and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. "The news has unnecessarily fueled misconceptions about other medications that are proven safe and effective. Therapeutic nicotine products are among the most researched medicines and have saved millions of lives by helping smokers safely quit and significantly reduce their exposure to the risks of cancer and other smoking-related diseases."

TN products, such as Nicorette gum(R), NicoDerm patch(R) and Commit lozenge(R) have been proven to double the chances of quitting and remaining smoke-free long-term and are far safer than continued smoking.(E) Data from more than 110 clinical trials involving over 40,000 participants and extensive consumer use over more than 20 years have established the safety and efficacy profile of TN when used as directed.(F) TN is designed to relieve withdrawal symptoms by safely and gradually reducing dependence on nicotine, using a natural substance that a smokers body is accustomed to, rather than introducing a new chemical. It can be used safely in patients with specific health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, lung disease, and existing heart disease.(G,H)

"Quitting smoking can be extremely challenging. It is important for smokers to understand there are tools for cessation such as Nicorette gum(R), NicoDerm patch(R) and Commit lozenge(R), which have proven to be safe and effective, and significantly increase the chances of quitting successfully," said Dr. Howard Marsh, vice-president, Worldwide Medical Affairs for GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. "No prescription or OTC treatment is proven to be more effective than GSK's TN products in helping smokers quit long-term."

Other Findings

Among smokers aware of the safety news:

-- Half aged 18-29 have delayed a quit attempt

-- 40 percent of men surveyed say the recent news has delayed their attempt to quit

-- 56 percent report feeling confused about the differences and similarities among the products available to help quit attempts

-- 81 percent would be interested in a proven stop-smoking therapy not associated with the news reports they have heard

TN products are available without a doctor's prescription, in flexible dosing options at 35,000 retail outlets across the U.S. so a smoker who wants to quit doesn't have to wait to see a doctor to get help. For more information on how to quit, smokers can visit Way2Quit is a comprehensive smoking cessation resource; it provides useful information to help smokers better understand what it will take to quit and how they can create an individualized quit plan.

About the Survey

Richard Day Research surveyed 1,280 adult smokers in the U.S. to find 500 who report having heard safety news about medications or products to help people quit smoking. Data were weighted by age and gender to ensure that the pre-screened sample of smokers matches the U.S. population of adult smokers according to the 2005 National Health Interview Survey. The survey was fielded in May 2008 through an online panel. The survey was conducted on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare the industry leader in smoking cessation.

About GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare is one of the world's largest over-the-counter consumer healthcare products companies. GSK offers the widest range of proven TN products available, products which can significantly improve a smoker's chance of quitting successfully and have helped millions of people quit smoking. In addition, GSK offers several resources and support services designed specifically to help smokers and non-smokers understand and address the two components to smoking cessation: nicotine addiction and habit change. Its more than 30 well-known brands include the leading smoking cessation products, Nicorette(R), NicoDerm(R) CQ and Commit(R) as well as many medicine cabinet staples, including Abreva(R), alli(R), Aquafresh(R), Sensodyne(R), Tums(R) and Breathe Right(R), trademarks owned and/or licensed to GlaxoSmithKline Group of Companies.

About GlaxoSmithKline

GlaxoSmithKline is one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare companies. GlaxoSmithKline is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.

(A) Survey of 1,280 smokers, Richard Day Research. April 2008, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare.

(B) World Health Organization. WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2008. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2008 [cited 2008 Mar 21]. Available from:

(C) Cokkinides VE, Ward E, Jemal A, Thun MJ. Under-use of smoking- cessation treatments: results from the National Health Interview Survey, 2000. Am J Prev Med. 2005 Jan;28(1):119-22.

(D) Hughes JR, Keely J, Naud S. Shape of the relapse curve and long-term abstinence among untreated smokers. Addiction. 2004 Jan; 99(1):29-38.

(E) Fiore MC, Jaen CR, Baker TB, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. May 2008.

(F) Stead LF, Perera R, Bullen C,Mant D, Lancaster T. Nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD000146. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000146.pub3.

(G) Murray RP, Bailey WC, Daniels K, Bjornson WM, Kurnow K, Connett JE, Nides MA, Kiley JP. Safety of nicotine polacrilex gum used by 3,094 participants in the Lung Health Study. Lung Health Study Research Group. Chest. 1996 Feb;109(2):438-45.

(H) GSK. "The Clinical Use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy Among Special Patient Populations." GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare booklet. 2005.

SOURCE GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare
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