Nicotine replacement therapies may not be effective in helping people quit smoking
Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs) have been available as over-the-counter smoking cessation medications since 1996. However, a recent study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health shows that people who used an NRT to quit smoking – like the nicotine patch (placed on the skin), nicotine gum, nicotine inhaler, or nasal spray – are just as likely to relapse as those who quit cold turkey.
“This study shows that using NRT is no more effective in helping people stop smoking cigarettes in the long-term than trying to quit on one’s own,” said Hillel Alpert, a research scientist at HSPH.
In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show that in the past five years, the adult smoking quitting rates have remained the same (rather than improved as one would expect given the popularity of NRT use).
Lois Biener of the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Center for Survey Research said that “using public funds to provide NRT to the population at large is of questionable value, particularly when it reduces the amount of money available for smoking interventions shown in previous studies to be effective.”
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