Smokers need more help to kick the habit

Smokers
who give up for a year have a better than even chance of quitting long-term,
according to a trial by UK scientists.

But
the study, published in the British Medical Journal, also highlights the
difficulty of long-term quitting, with only 5 per cent of smokers managing to
stay away from cigarettes for the full eight years of the trial.

The
study demonstrates the urgent need for more effective ways of helping people to
quit, according to cancer charity Cancer Research UK.

Scientists
at the charity’s General Practice Research Group in Oxford followed up 840
people who had taken part in an original one-year trial on the effectiveness of
nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).

Of
the 153 patients who had given up smoking for one year in the original trial,
83 were still tobacco-free eight years later.

Jean
King, Cancer Research UK’s director of tobacco control, said: “Smokers who want
to quit should seek as much help as they can, both from NRT and from
behavioural support, such as stop-smoking clinics.

“Policies
such as smoke-free public places are essential to create a non-smoking norm,”
she added.

(Ref:
BMJ 2003;327:28-29)

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