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Journal of Public Health Management & Practice:
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3182a0b8c7
Original Articles

Effect of Nicotine Replacement Therapy on Quitting by Young Adults in a Trial Comparing Cessation Services

Buller, David B. PhD; Halperin, Abigail MD, MPH; Severson, Herbert H. PhD; Borland, Ron PhD; Slater, Michael D. PhD; Bettinghaus, Erwin P. PhD; Tinkelman, David MD; Cutter, Gary R. PhD; Woodall, William Gill PhD

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Context: Young adult smokers have the highest smoking prevalence among all US age groups but are least likely to use evidence-based cessation counseling or medication to quit.

Objective: Use and effectiveness of nicotine patch were explored in a randomized trial evaluating smoking cessation interventions with this population.

Participants: Smokers aged 18 to 30 (n = 3094) were recruited through online and off-line methods and from telephone quit lines and analyzed.

Design: Smokers were enrolled in a pretest-posttest trial, and randomized to 1 of 3 cessation services.

Setting: Trial delivering counseling services by self-help booklet, telephone quit lines, or online expert system in the 48 continental United States.

Intervention: Smokers could request a free 2-week course of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) patches from the project.

Main Outcome Measure: Follow-up surveys at 12 and 26 weeks assessed smoking abstinence, use of NRT, counseling, and other cessation medications, and smoking-related variables.

Results: Overall, 69.0% of smokers reported using NRT (M = 3.2 weeks) at 12 weeks and 74.8% (M = 3.3 weeks) at 26 weeks. More smokers who were sent the free nicotine patches (n = 1695; 54.8%) reported using NRT than those who did not receive them (12 weeks: 84.3% vs 41.9%, P < .001; 26 weeks: 87.6% vs 51.1%, P < .001). The use of NRT was associated with greater smoking abstinence at 12 weeks (P < .001) and 26 weeks (P < .05), especially if used for more than 2 weeks (P < .001). Smokers assigned to a self-help booklet or cessation Web site and heavier smokers were most likely to use NRT (P < .05), whereas those reporting marijuana use and binge drinking used NRT less (P < .05).

Conclusions: Many young adults were willing to try NRT, and it appeared to help them quit in the context of community-based cessation services. Strategies should be developed to make NRT available to this age group and support them in using it to prevent lifelong smoking.

© 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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