Tag Archives: smoking cessation

NRT ‘not effective’ for smoking cessation, research finds

By Elizabeth Smythe

A new study has discovered that Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT) are not effective long-term smoking cessation methods, The Telegraph reports.

The products, which include patches, inhalers, nasal sprays and gum, were investigated by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Massachusetts, who followed the progress of nearly 800 recent quitters over three time periods.

They found that there was no significant difference in relapse rates among those who had used NRT and those who had not. Similarly, there was no difference in success rates.

However, according to Metro, heavy smokers who used NRT without professional therapy were “twice as likely to relapse”.

Lead author, Hillel Alpert said: “This study shows that using NRT is no more effective in helping people stop smoking cigarettes in the long-term than trying to quit on one’s own.”

Giving up smoking is by no means an easy undertaking. In most cases it is a habitual behaviour that is hard to change, something NRT cannot tackle.

Fortunately, stop smoking hypnosis can be extremely effective, employing cognitive behavioural therapy to reprogramme the unconscious mind and change those ingrained habits. An additional benefit is that this method is nicotine free.

Mr Alpert continued: “Some heavily-dependent smokers perceive nicotine replacement therapy as a sort of “magic pill”. Upon realising it is not, they find themselves without support in their quitting efforts, doomed to failure.”

As a result of the study findings, the researchers are calling for greater regulation of over-the-counter NRT products and for more empirical research. Mr Alpert also suggested that using public money to fund the provision of NRT was now “of questionable value.”

Smoking Kills

There is no doubt that smoking kills.

The annual global death toll as a result of tobacco is currently six million people, 1 that is currently one person dying every six seconds as a result of tobacco, and contributes to most cancers including lip, mouth, throat, bladder, kidney, stomach, liver, and cervix. This statistic caused the U.S. Surgeon General to state that: “There is no risk free exposure to tobacco smoke, and therefore no safe tobacco product” 2

The cost to people’s lives is considerable and there is little surprise that people quitting smoking is on the increase. The seemingly unscalable wall a smoker encounters when trying to quit, however, is quite simply that they find themselves unable to do so; they have become an addict! 3 This addiction happens especially quickly with children, studies in the United States have found that addiction happens very quickly; that “…adolescent smokers displayed symptoms of nicotine withdrawal within the first few weeks of commencing smoking” 4, 5

It is therefore important that an aid to quitting smoking can be offered to those that want to quit. Even though hypnotherapy can provide this aid, it is the individual themselves that must do the quitting. Hypnotherapy does not create a magic spell that does all of the hard work.

1World No Tobacco Day 2011 celebrates WHO Framework Convention On Tobacco Control. WHO

press release 31 May 2011 http://www.who.int/tobacco/wntd/2011/en/

2U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology

and Behavioural Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, National

Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2010.

3Nicotine Addiction in Britain. A report of the Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians. London, RCP, 2000

4DiFranza JR Hooked from the first cigarette. Scientific American 2008; 298: 82-87

doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0508-82

5Please see: http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_107.pdf for further research about smoking.