Recently we saw a journal article telling us that NRTs don't work when used as directed (which we would-be quitters could have told them, if they had only asked us.)
Now comes the wisdom that if you relapse after you used the patch to quit, it is better to go back to the patch than to continue smoking. Again, this should be a no-brainer, but the anti-nicotine zealots discouraged any long-term use of nicotine products.
Continuing to wear nicotine patches after smoking lapses promotes recovery of abstinence - Ferguson - Addiction - Wiley Online Library
On one hand, I see this as a good thing, as the medical literature is (finally) starting to reflect that using a non-smoked source of nicotine is less hazardous than continuing to smoke. But on the other hand, I smell a rat.Continuing to wear nicotine patches after smoking lapses promotes recovery of abstinence
Ferguson SG, Gitchell JG, Shiffman S.
Addiction. 2012 Jan 26. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2012.03801.x. [Epub ahead of print]
Aims: Smokers who lapse during a cessation attempt are at particularly high risk of relapse, so interventions to help smokers recover from lapses are urgently needed. Two recent studies have suggested continuing to use nicotine patches following a lapse may be a beneficial relapse prevention strategy. However, to date no study that uses approved doses of nicotine patches under real-world conditions has tested this hypothesis.
Design & Setting: Clinical trial conducted across eight US study sites.
Participants & Measurements: Using data from 509 subjects (240 active; 269 placebo) who lapsed during weeks 3-5 of treatment in a randomized, double blind placebo controlled trial of 21-mg nicotine patches, we examined whether active nicotine patch use improved the chances of recovering abstinence (7-day point-prevalence) at weeks 6 and 10.
Findings: Active patch use (versus placebo) increased the likelihood of recovery from a lapse both at 6 weeks (8.3% vs 0.8%; Relative Risk [RR]=11.0, p<.001) and at 10 weeks (9.6% vs 2.6%; RR=3.7, p<.001).
Conclusions: Continuing treatment to aid smoking cessation with active patches promotes recovery from lapses. Smokers should be encouraged to persist with patch treatment if they lapse to smoking.
Two of the three authors work for Pinney Associates, Inc. Pinney also employs TPSAC member Jack Henningfield.
Our Clients - PinneyAssociates – Pharmaceutical Risk Management, Consumer Health, and Biologics
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The pharmaceutical companies that manufacture NRTs have been urging the FDA to approve their products for long-term use. This, of course, would improve their bottom line.
Somehow I don't think that it is a coincidence that this research was conducted at this time and the results published in a well-respected journal. I predict that, in the very near future, we will see a virtual deluge of more studies of this type conducted, written up, and carefully placed in a variety of scientific journals.
The medical literature publication campaign will be accompanied by a PR campaign to get the message out widely in the mainstream media, because Joe Q. Public doesn't read medical journals.
Example: Sticking to nicotine patch may prevent relapse | Reuters
Again, this campaign is a good thing, because it hammers home the message that it is the smoke that is dangerous, and that nicotine without the smoke is not terribly hazardous.
But the bad thing is that Big Pharma would like to have a monopoly on the nicotine market. Toward that end, we see the non-profit organizations that are supported by hefty donations from Big Pharma waging an all-out war against smokefree e-cigarettes.
Two can play at this game: From this moment forward, I suggest that in our letters to legislators, boards of health, governors, mayors, etc. and in our comments left on media web sites that we insert the word "smokefree" in front of e-cigarettes to hammer home that vapor is not smoke.
Successful PR campaigns depend on catchy messages repeated over and over again.