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Study: Nicotine Gum Effective in Gradual Smoking Cessation

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Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare have found that chewing nicotine gum is an effective way for smokers interested in gradual smoking cessation to stop smoking, HeartWire reported Jan. 15.

Lead author Saul Shiffman and colleagues studied 3,247 smokers who were interested in gradual smoking cessation. Subjects were asked to pick between 2-mg and 4-mg doses of nicotine, and were randomly sorted into placebo and experimental groups. The participants were asked to gradually reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked each day over eight weeks, as they increased how much they used the gum.

The researchers found that the participants receiving active treatment — those who received the nicotine gum rather than those in the placebo group — were more likely to abstain from smoking for 24 hours. Active treatment also increased abstinence rates after 28 days and six months.

“This is the first time a study of this size and design has been conducted aimed at helping smokers quit gradually,” Shiffman said, adding that structured guidelines for people interested in gradually quitting had not been established. “People like instruction and structure. It helps them feel supported.”

The study was published in the February 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. (GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare supported the study and Shiffman noted potential financial interest in nicotine replacement therapy ventures.)

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