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Smokers who used a combination of a nicotine patch and nasal spray doubled their chances of staying smoke-free for six years, compared with those who used a patch alone, a new study says.

The research by scientists in Iceland showed that 16 percent of those who used the combination did not smoke for six years, compared with 8.5 percent of those who relied only on a patch.

In the study, published in this week's British Medical Journal, scientists at National University Hospital in Rekyjavik enrolled 237 smokers in a program to help them quit.

All were given nicotine patches, while half were given nicotine nasal spray and half a placebo spray. The subjects used the spray and patches for five months and continued to use the spray alone for a further seven months.

After six months, twice as many of the smokers on the combination therapy -- 31 percent -- were still abstaining, compared with 16 percent on the patch alone.

At one year, the difference was almost triple, with 27 percent of those using the combination method still not smoking, compared with 11 percent of those who had used only the patch.

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