New anti-tobacco drug boosts quit rates

In collaboration with the Press Association

Smokers using a new anti-tobacco drug launched in the UK last month are three times more likely to kick the habit for good, a review of previous research has suggested.

Varenicline, supplied as Champix in the UK, is the first new anti-tobacco drug to be launched in the UK in the last ten years.

By stimulating the same areas of the brain as nicotine, the drug cuts cravings and reduces the action of tobacco, making smoking feel less satisfying.

"Varenicline is a promising new drug specifically designed to help smokers quit and it is a welcome addition to the existing range of treatments available," said Lion Shahab of Cancer Research UK.

"The drug uses a dual mechanism to help reduce cravings and makes smoking less rewarding - together these lower the risk of relapse."

"Judgments about its use are best made by the prescribing doctor in consultation with the smoker."

The review of previous data was conducted by the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group at Oxford University and has been published in the organisation's review.