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Concept: Nicotine patch


The prevalence of smoking is much higher in prisoners than it is in the general population. Prisoners who smoke cause many health problems for themselves and other prisoners. Therefore, we should help them stop smoking.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Smoking, Tobacco smoking, Nicotine, Smoking cessation, Nicotine patch, Nicotine gum


There has been concern that the availability of alternative less harmful forms of nicotine might inhibit smoking cessation and/or encourage those who would not otherwise have smoked to do so. The plausibility of such effects can be best assessed by looking at population trends in use of smoking in relation to alternatives. This paper looks at the relationships between snus use and smoking in Sweden. Analyses are based on a data set for the period January 2003 to February 2011 from a long-term study covering nationally representative samples of the Swedish population aged 18-79, with a total study population of 60,675 individuals. Questionnaires made it possible to identify detailed tobacco use categories and use trajectories. The results showed that uptake of snus use is much more common in males than females. Those who began daily tobacco use using snus were much less likely to subsequently take up smoking than those who had not, both among males (17.6% vs. 45.9%), and females (8.2% vs. 40.2%). Further, among those who started using snus after starting as smokers, 76.3% of men and 71.6% of women had stopped smoking completely, including 31.5% of the men and 28.6% of the women who had quit all forms of tobacco. Indeed, those who were primary snus users were also more likely to have quit altogether than those who only ever smoked. Snus was also reported as the most common smoking cessation aid among men and yielded higher success rates than nicotine replacement therapy and other alternatives. As conclusions, snus has both contributed to decreasing initiation of smoking and, when used subsequent to smoking, appears to facilitate smoking cessation. All these effects suggest that the availability and use of snus has been a major factor behind Sweden’s record-low prevalence of smoking and the lowest level of tobacco-related mortality among men in Europe.

Concepts: Smoking, Tobacco, Tobacco smoking, Cigarette, Nicotine, Smoking cessation, Nicotine patch, Electronic cigarette


OBJECTIVE The authors assessed the efficacy and safety of combination treatment with varenicline and sustained-release bupropion for smokers who, based on an assessment of initial smoking reduction prior to the quit date, were deemed unlikely to achieve abstinence using nicotine patch treatment. METHOD In a randomized, double-blind, parallel-group adaptive treatment trial, the authors identified 222 cigarette smokers who failed to show a reduction of more than 50% in smoking after 1 week of nicotine patch treatment. Smokers were randomly assigned to receive 12 weeks of varenicline plus bupropion or varenicline plus placebo. The primary outcome measure was continuous smoking abstinence at weeks 8-11 after the target quit date. RESULTS Both treatments were well tolerated. Participants who received the combination treatment had a significantly higher abstinence rate than those who received varenicline plus placebo (39.8% compared with 25.9%; odds ratio=1.89; 95% CI=1.07, 3.35). Combination treatment had a significantly greater effect on abstinence rate in male smokers (odds ratio=4.26; 95% CI=1.73, 10.49) than in female smokers (odds ratio=0.94; 95% CI=0.43, 2.05). It also had a significantly greater effect in highly nicotine-dependent smokers (odds ratio=3.51, 95% CI=1.64, 7.51) than in smokers with lower levels of dependence (odds ratio=0.71, 95% CI=0.28, 1.80). CONCLUSIONS Among smokers who did not show a sufficient initial response to prequit nicotine patch treatment, combination treatment with varenicline and bupropion proved more efficacious than varenicline alone for male smokers and for smokers with a high degree of nicotine dependence.

Concepts: Smoking, Tobacco, Tobacco smoking, Cigarette, Nicotine, Smoking cessation, Nicotine patch, Nicotine gum


Since e-cigarettes appeared in the mid-2000s, some practitioners, researchers, and policy makers have embraced them as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes and an effective way to stop smoking. While e-cigarettes deliver lower levels of carcinogens than do conventional cigarettes, they still expose users to high levels of ultrafine particles and other toxins that may substantially increase cardiovascular and noncancer lung disease risks, which account for more than half of all smoking-caused deaths, at rates similar to conventional cigarettes. Moreover, rather than stimulating smokers to switch from conventional cigarettes to less dangerous e-cigarettes or quitting altogether, e-cigarettes are reducing smoking cessation rates and expanding the nicotine market by attracting youth. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Public Health Volume 39 is April 1, 2018. Please see for revised estimates.

Concepts: Smoking, Tobacco, Cigarette, Nicotine, Smoking cessation, Nicotine patch, Electronic cigarette, Nicotine gum


Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are rapidly increasing in popularity. Two randomised controlled trials have suggested that e-cigarettes can aid smoking cessation but there are many factors that could influence their real-world effectiveness. This study aimed to assess, using an established methodology, the effectiveness of e-cigarettes when used to aid smoking cessation compared with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) bought over-the-counter and with unaided quitting in the general population.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Smoking, Tobacco, Cigarette, Nicotine, Smoking cessation, Nicotine patch, Electronic cigarette


Effectiveness of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for smoking cessation has not been evaluated in low income countries, such as Syria, where it is expensive and not widely available. We evaluated whether nicotine patch boosts smoking cessation rates when used in conjunction with behavioral support in primary care clinics in Aleppo, Syria.

Concepts: Smoking, Tobacco smoking, Nicotine, Smoking cessation, Nicotine patch, Nicotine gum, Syria, Damascus


BACKGROUND:Cigarette smoking by surgical patients is associated with increased complications, particularly perioperative respiratory problems and poor wound healing. In this study, we sought to determine whether a pragmatic perioperative smoking cessation intervention designed for a busy preadmission clinic would be successful in reducing smoking rates and intraoperative and immediate postoperative complications.METHODS:This randomized controlled trial was conducted at a university-affiliated hospital in London, Ontario, Canada. Patients seen in the preadmission clinic at least 3 weeks preoperatively were randomized to either the control group (84 patients) or the intervention group (84 patients). The control group received no specific smoking cessation intervention. The intervention group received (1) brief counseling by the preadmission nurse, (2) brochures on smoking cessation, (3) referral to the Canadian Cancer Society’s Smokers' Helpline, and (4) a free 6-week supply of transdermal nicotine replacement therapy. All outcome assessors and caregivers on the operative day were blinded to group assignment. The primary outcome was the rate of smoking cessation as confirmed by exhaled carbon monoxide breath test. Secondary outcomes included perioperative complications and smoking status at 30 days postoperatively.RESULTS:Between October 2010 and April 2012, 168 patients were recruited into the study. Smoking cessation occurred in 12 patients (14.3%) in the intervention group as compared with 3 patients (3.6%) in the control group (relative risk 4.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2-13.7; P = 0.03). The overall rate of combined intraoperative and immediate postoperative complications was not significantly different between intervention and control groups (13.1% and 16.7%, respectively; relative risk 0.79; 95% CI, 0.38-1.63; P = 0.67). At follow-up 30 days postoperatively, smoking cessation was reported in 22 patients (28.6%) in the intervention group compared with 8 patients (11%) in controls (relative risk 2.6; 95% CI, 1.2-5.5; P = 0.008).CONCLUSIONS:One of the objections to widespread use of smoking cessation interventions in the preadmission clinic is that it is too labor-intensive. The results of this study show that a smoking cessation intervention, designed to minimize additional use of physician or nursing time, results in decreased smoking rates on the day of surgery and promotes abstinence 30 days postoperatively.

Concepts: Controlling for a variable, Scientific control, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Randomized controlled trial, Nicotine, Smoking cessation, Nicotine patch


Cigarette smokers are generally known to gain weight after quitting smoking, and such weight gain is thought to contribute to the worsening of glucose tolerance. While smoking cessation therapy such as nicotine replacement is useful to minimize post-cessation weight gain, substantial gain occurs even during the therapy. The purpose of the present study was to identify factors associated with weight gain during smoking cessation therapy. We evaluated 186 patients(132 males and 54 females)who visited our outpatient clinic for smoking cessation, and successfully achieved smoking abstinence. We performed gender-adjusted regression analysis for the rate of BMI increase from the beginning of cessation to 3 months after initiation. Furthermore, we performed multivariate analysis to investigate factors that determine the BMI increase after smoking cessation. The mean BMI significantly (p<0.0001) increased from 23.5±3.6 kg/m(2) at the initial consultation to 23.9±3.8 kg/m(2) at 3 months after the start of therapy. There was no significant difference in the extent of BMI increase between nicotine patch and varenicline therapy groups. Factors significantly correlated with the %BMI increase at 3 months after the start of therapy were triglyceride (p = 0.0006, βa = 0.260), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (p = 0.0386, βa = -0.168), daily cigarette consumption (p = 0.0385, βa = 0.154), and the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND) score (p = 0.0060, βa = 0.203). Stepwise multivariate analysis demonstrated that triglyceride and the FTND score were the factors determining the post-cessation BMI increase and that the FTND score was the strongest one. The present study demonstrated that smokers with a high FTND score are more likely to gain weight during smoking cessation therapy. Thus, smokers with a high nicotine dependency may require intervention against weight gain in the cessation clinic.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Smoking, Tobacco, Cigarette, Nicotine, Smoking cessation, Nicotine patch, Nicotine gum


Stop smoking it is often associated to weight gain that is one of the most important causes for relapse. This is the first study to describe long-term changes in body weight in smokers invited to quit or reduce smoking by switching to ECs. Conventional cigarettes consumption and body weight were measured prospectively in a randomized controlled trial of smokers invited to switch to ECs. Post cessation weight changes from baseline at week-12, -24 and -52 were compared among 1) high, medium and zero nicotine strength products and 2) pooled continuous smoking failure, smoking reduction and abstinence phenotypes. Saliva cotinine levels and appetite levels were also measured. No significant changes in body weight were observed among high, medium and zero nicotine strength products. Differences among continuous smoking phenotypes were significant only at week-12 (p = 0.010) and week-24 (p = 0.012) with quitters gaining 2.4{plus minus}4.3 Kg and 2.9{plus minus}4.4 Kg respectively. However, weight gain at week-52 (1.5{plus minus}5.0 Kg) was no longer significant compared to Failures and Reducers. No confounding factors could explain the significant changes in body weight. Smokers who quit smoking by switching to ECs may limit their post-cessation weight gain, with substantial reversal in weight gain being manifest at late time points.

Concepts: Smoking, Tobacco, Cigarette, Nicotine, Smoking cessation, Nicotine patch, Electronic cigarette, Nicotine gum


BACKGROUND: Smoking is the leading preventable cause of illness and premature death worldwide. Some medications have been proven to help people to quit, with three licensed for this purpose in Europe and the USA: nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), bupropion, and varenicline. Cytisine (a treatment pharmacologically similar to varenicline) is also licensed for use in Russia and some of the former socialist economy countries. Other therapies, including nortriptyline, have also been tested for effectiveness. OBJECTIVES: How do NRT, bupropion and varenicline compare with placebo and with each other in achieving long-term abstinence (six months or longer)? How do the remaining treatments compare with placebo in achieving long-term abstinence? How do the risks of adverse and serious adverse events (SAEs) compare between the treatments, and are there instances where the harms may outweigh the benefits? METHODS: The overview is restricted to Cochrane reviews, all of which include randomised trials. Participants are usually adult smokers, but we exclude reviews of smoking cessation for pregnant women and in particular disease groups or specific settings. We cover nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), antidepressants (bupropion and nortriptyline), nicotine receptor partial agonists (varenicline and cytisine), anxiolytics, selective type 1 cannabinoid receptor antagonists (rimonabant), clonidine, lobeline, dianicline, mecamylamine, Nicobrevin, opioid antagonists, nicotine vaccines, and silver acetate. Our outcome for benefit is continuous or prolonged abstinence at least six months from the start of treatment. Our outcome for harms is the incidence of serious adverse events associated with each of the treatments. We searched the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) in The Cochrane Library, for any reviews with ‘smoking’ in the title, abstract or keyword fields. The last search was conducted in November 2012. We assessed methodological quality using a revised version of the AMSTAR scale. For NRT, bupropion and varenicline we conducted network meta-analyses, comparing each with the others and with placebo for benefit, and varenicline and bupropion for risks of serious adverse events. MAIN RESULTS: We identified 12 treatment-specific reviews. The analyses covered 267 studies, involving 101,804 participants. Both NRT and bupropion were superior to placebo (odds ratios (OR) 1.84; 95% credible interval (CredI) 1.71 to 1.99, and 1.82; 95% CredI 1.60 to 2.06 respectively). Varenicline increased the odds of quitting compared with placebo (OR 2.88; 95% CredI 2.40 to 3.47). Head-to-head comparisons between bupropion and NRT showed equal efficacy (OR 0.99; 95% CredI 0.86 to 1.13). Varenicline was superior to single forms of NRT (OR 1.57; 95% CredI 1.29 to 1.91), and to bupropion (OR 1.59; 95% CredI 1.29 to 1.96). Varenicline was more effective than nicotine patch (OR 1.51; 95% CredI 1.22 to 1.87), than nicotine gum (OR 1.72; 95% CredI 1.38 to 2.13), and than ‘other’ NRT (inhaler, spray, tablets, lozenges; OR 1.42; 95% CredI 1.12 to 1.79), but was not more effective than combination NRT (OR 1.06; 95% CredI 0.75 to 1.48). Combination NRT also outperformed single formulations. The four categories of NRT performed similarly against each other, apart from ‘other’ NRT, which was marginally more effective than NRT gum (OR 1.21; 95% CredI 1.01 to 1.46). Cytisine (a nicotine receptor partial agonist) returned positive findings (risk ratio (RR) 3.98; 95% CI 2.01 to 7.87), without significant adverse events or SAEs. Across the 82 included and excluded bupropion trials, our estimate of six seizures in the bupropion arms versus none in the placebo arms was lower than the expected rate (1:1000), at about 1:1500. SAE meta-analysis of the bupropion studies demonstrated no excess of neuropsychiatric (RR 0.88; 95% CI 0.31 to 2.50) or cardiovascular events (RR 0.77; 95% CI 0.37 to 1.59). SAE meta-analysis of 14 varenicline trials found no difference between the varenicline and placebo arms (RR 1.06; 95% CI 0.72 to 1.55), and subgroup analyses detected no significant excess of neuropsychiatric events (RR 0.53; 95% CI 0.17 to 1.67), or of cardiac events (RR 1.26; 95% CI 0.62 to 2.56). Nortriptyline increased the chances of quitting (RR 2.03; 95% CI 1.48 to 2.78). Neither nortriptyline nor bupropion were shown to enhance the effect of NRT compared with NRT alone. Clonidine increased the chances of quitting (RR 1.63; 95% CI 1.22 to 2.18), but this was offset by a dose-dependent rise in adverse events. Mecamylamine in combination with NRT may increase the chances of quitting, but the current evidence is inconclusive. Other treatments failed to demonstrate a benefit compared with placebo. Nicotine vaccines are not yet licensed for use as an aid to smoking cessation or relapse prevention. Nicobrevin’s UK license is now revoked, and the manufacturers of rimonabant, taranabant and dianicline are no longer supporting the development or testing of these treatments. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: NRT, bupropion, varenicline and cytisine have been shown to improve the chances of quitting. Combination NRT and varenicline are equally effective as quitting aids. Nortriptyline also improves the chances of quitting. On current evidence, none of the treatments appear to have an incidence of adverse events that would mitigate their use. Further research is warranted into the safety of varenicline and into cytisine’s potential as an effective and affordable treatment, but not into the efficacy and safety of NRT.

Concepts: Cochrane Library, Nicotine, Smoking cessation, Nicotine patch, Receptor antagonist, Agonist, Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, Tobacco cessation