Uninsured smokers who used nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) patches in combination with NRT lozenges nearly doubled their quit rates when using the support of a quitline, according to a study published in the Journal of Smoking Cessation and conducted with help from scientists at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the University at Buffalo, the Medical University of South Carolina and Yale University.
Researchers evaluated smoking quit rates of more than 3,000 daily tobacco users who contacted the New York State Smokers’ Quitline. One group of heavy smokers was given a free two-week supply of nicotine patches. A second group of heavy smokers was provided a free two-week supply of both nicotine patches and lozenges. Supportive counseling and follow-up calls were provided by trained quitline specialists.
The results showed that combination NRT was no more effective in a single-type therapy overall. However, research also showed that such therapy can result in higher quit rates among those with lower socioeconomic status and lower nicotine dependence.
“We know that people with lower socioeconomic status are more likely to start smoking, more likely to smoke more heavily and less likely to quit. This study found that the group of heavy smokers benefited more from combination NRT coupled with quitline counseling, and therefore were more successful in their quit attempts,” said senior author Shannon Carlin-Menter, a research assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at UB who conducted the research as director of evaluation for the quitline.
The offer of a free supply of nicotine medication was rated as “very important” by smokers who contacted quitline – 1-866-NY-Quits or online at nysmokefree.com – and the reported relief from cravings was significantly greater among those who received the combination therapy.