Not Ready To Cut Back or Quit? – Smoking Cessation May Lead To Quitting


According to a total quality review of 19 research studies on smoking cessation in people who did not want to completely quit, cessation, typically matched with the use of nicotine replacement protocols, resulted in an increase in quitting for 16 of the 19 studies conducted.

According to the December issue Nicotine and Tobacco Research, researchers at the University of Vermont discovered an positive unexpected yet effective alternative to encourage smokers to quit smoking and/or cut back. Inside the qualitative review of 19 research studies on smoking cessation in individuals who did not want to quit, this smoking cessation method, typically paired with the use of current Nicotine Replacement (NR) products, resulted in an increase in quitting in 16 of the 19 studies.

Source – University of Vermont

“Cutting back is approved as a method of quitting in several European countries, but not in the United States,” according to the lead author, John Hughes, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. “Our review contradicts the commonly held belief that quitting requires stopping abruptly and provides evidence that smokers can quit successfully by reducing the amount of cigarettes smoked. Furthermore, our review indicates cutting back is often a great way to start changing smoking that can lead to eventual quitting.”

Hughes and colleague Matthew Carpenter both warn that smokers need to thoroughly understand that there is no good evidence that cutting back alone decreases smoking-related health risks and therefore clinicians should only promote reduction as a positive step towards eventual cessation for their smoking patients that have a desire to quit or cut-back.

Hughes’s report of the research is a very large review of smoking cessation studies published to date. Among the 19 studies reviewed (many of which were randomized, placebo-controlled trials), the two considered the most important involved randomized, controlled trials that assigned smokers to either reduce or not reduce. Both studies discovered that smoking reduction leads to more cessation. Also, in three studies, the effect of reduction was discovered to be familiar to the effect of providing smoking cessation advice. Based on this finding, Hughes says that clinicians should try to recommend reduction for smokers who have not responded to repeated cessation advice.


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