Smokers should persevere with smoking cessation therapy

In collaboration with the Press Association

Smokers should persevere with anti-nicotine treatments even if they are not immediately successful, according to a US study.

The study, conducted by the Oregon Health & Science University, looked at the effects of anti-smoking drugs Chantix and Zyban on over 1,000 smokers.

Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of the smokers taking Chantix were able to give up straight away, compared with 18 per cent taking Zyban, and ten per cent given a placebo.

When the course was extended for another three months however, a further 20 per cent on Chantix and 11 per cent on Zyban were able to quit.

Previously, many doctors would recommend ending treatment if not immediately effective, Dr David Gonzales told a Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco meeting, where the results of the study were presented.

"Our recent analysis shows smokers and clinicians should not be discouraged when total abstinence is not achieved in the first weeks of treatment with smoking cessation medications," said Dr Gonzales. Jean King, Cancer Research UK's director of tobacco control, said: "It's incredibly difficult to stop smoking and many people don't manage it the first time they try. But research shows that getting support to stop smoking greatly increases your changes of giving up for good. "The good news is that stopping smoking has immediate health benefits, and over the long term reduces the risk of dying prematurely. Quitting at age 50 halves the risk of dying of tobacco related disease, and quitting at 30 avoids almost all of it."