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A new method to help smokers quit

According to a recent study, smokers have a new method to get rid of their nicotine habit.In an article appearing in this month's Archives of Internal Medicine, Saul Shiffman, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, says, "Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death// and disease in the Western world." According to him, Nicotine replacement therapy is the most common method of therapy used for smoking cessation. It is said to be twice as effective in helping smokers quit as a placebo.

In the study, Shiffman and colleagues tested a new form of nicotine replacement therapy -- throat lozenges. The active nicotine lozenges were dispensed to more than 700 participants in one of two dosages. A 4mg lozenge was given to those who smoked their first cigarette within 50 minutes of waking, a sign of high dependence, and a 5mg lozenge was given to the others. An additional 700 participants were assigned a placebo.

Initial assessment of the lozenge was determined by 28-day continuous abstinence from smoking at 6 weeks. Results show those on the lower dose had twice the chance of being abstinent and those on the higher dose had nearly four times the chance of abstinence. Smokers receiving the active lozenge showed continually higher abstinence rates at the 12-, 24-, and 52-week follow-ups.

In addition, researchers say use of the active lozenge led to reduced cravings and withdrawal. Most adverse events were moderate and were considered similar to those experienced by individuals using nicotine gum. Also, in general, those who used more of the active lozenges daily were more likely to remain abstinent over time.

According to researchers, the new nicotine lozenge is an effective and safe treatment for smoking. Physicians should counsel smokers to quit and suggest the nicotine lozenge as an option for effective treatment. The nicotine lozenge provides smokers and practitioners with an additional effective tool for smoking cessation.<
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