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Study Finds Patch Effective in Quitting Smoking


March 1995

A recent study by the University of California at Davis Cancer Research Institute finds that the nicotine patch, when used in conjunction with doctor's advice, is effective in helping smokers quit and remain smoke free (John P. Pierce, Elizabeth Gilpin and Arthur J. Farkas, "Nicotine Patch Use in the General Population: Results from the 1993 California Tobacco Survey," Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Jan. 18, 1995; Lauran Neergaard, "Study: It Takes More Than the Patch to Quit Smoking," Dallas Chronicle, Jan. 24, 1995, p. B4).

The authors estimate that over 46 million people nationwide attempt to quit smoking each year, and only one-third are successful. Of the sample of 3,281 smokers who tried to quit smoking in California in 1993, 11% used the patch. Patch users were more likely to be female, white or Asian, middle-aged, and heavier smokers. Only 3.1 percent the people who used the patch sought additional help from their physician in quitting smoking.

The researchers found that the patch is most effective when used under doctor's supervision and advice. In fact, smokers who used the patch without doctor's assistance and smokers who did not use the patch faired the same in smoking cessation. Of smokers who used the patch without assistance, 29.2% remained smoke-free after 60 days. 27.8% of the non-patch quitters remained abstinent after two months.

After 30 days, there were 57.4 percent of patch users with assistance who remained abstinent while only 40.9 percent of the non-patch (but using other methods) remained abstinent.

[For more information, contact John Pierce at the University of California at Davis-Cancer Prevention and Control Program at 619-622-1731.]