According to latest estimates 42.1 American adults are addicted to smoking. Of these 40% try to quit smoking on an average of twice every year without success. However a new study which has been published in JAMA suggests the use of medication to quit smoking gradually. The study found that using medication led to better smoking cessation and better compliance.
For persons who have tried to stop smoking with failure can take the help of a new medication called varenicline which could assist in gradual cessation of smoking.
According to latest figures released by CDC, 7 out of 10 smokers in the US have expressed their desire to quit smoking completely. As per the current quit smoking guidelines issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services, smokers are asked to stop smoking immediately and accomplish this by setting up a quit date in the near future.
However recent studies led by Dr. Jon O. Ebbert of the Mayo Clinic have revealed that only 8% of smokers say that they are ready to quit smoking within the next month.
The team conducted a telephone survey which revealed that among the 1000 daily cigarette smokers in the US about 44% felt that they prefer to quit smoking through a steady reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked.
“Developing effective interventions to achieve tobacco abstinence through gradual reduction could engage more smokers in quitting,” say the researchers.
To check this Dr. Ebbert and colleagues studied the effectiveness of varenicline (brand name Chantix) which is a medicine to treat nicotine addiction-in aiding smokers to reduce the number of cigarettes smoked daily with the aim to get rid of it completely.
The study found that Varenicline ‘a useful treatment option for smokers who are unable to quit abruptly’. The study enrolled 1,510 cigarette smokers from over 10 countries who were unwilling to stop smoking in a month but would prefer to quit smoking over a period of next three month. The subjects in the study were issued 1 mg of varenicline or placebo over the next 24 weeks. The subjects were given a target to reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked by at least 50% at 4 weeks, 75% at 8 weeks and finally they were told to make a quit attempt after 12 weeks. By the fourth week, 47.1% of participants who received varenicline had reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by at least 50% as compared with 31.1% of participants who received the placebo. After8 weeks 26.3% of those treated with varenicline reached the 75% cigarette reduction target as compared to 15.1% in the placebo group.
Thus the study revealed that subjects treated with varenicline had much higher abstinence rates