New research shows that smokers sent nicotine patches in the mail were more likely to report no longer smoking 6 months later than smokers who did not.

Findings from one of the first randomized, controlled smoking cessation trials ever to examine nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) without a behavioral intervention suggest that NRT alone is an effective strategy to help smokers kick the habit.

Half the study participants (n=500) were sent a 5-week course of nicotine patches by mail, and half were not sent the patches. No other interventions were offered to either group.

Self-reported abstinence rates were significantly higher among those who received the nicotine patches at 6-month follow-up (30-day abstinence: 7.6% versus 3.0%; odds ratio 2.65; 95% CI 1.44-4.89: P=0.002), researcher John A. Cunningham, of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada, and colleagues, wrote in JAMA Internal Medicine, published Jan. 25.

In an email exchange, Cunningham told MedPage Today that there is good evidence that combining NRT with behavioral support can be a highly effective intervention for smokers who are motivated to quit.

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