• By Kelley Luckstein

Medication Therapy Can Increase Long-Term Success For Smokers Who Cut Back First

February 17, 2015

ROCHESTER, Minn. — A study of more than 1,500 cigarette smokers who were not ready to quit smoking but were willing to cut back on cigarette consumption and combine their approach with varenicline (Chantix) increased their long-term success of quitting smoking. The multinational study is published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Jon Ebbert, M.D., associate director for research in the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center, was lead author on the study that reported the effects of the prescription medication varenicline for increasing smoking abstinence rates among smokers who wanted to reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked before trying to quit completely.

Image of cigarettes with Quit Smoking title“This study is important because this opens the door to treatment for approximately 14 million smokers who have no intention of quitting in the next 30 days but are willing to reduce their smoking rate while working toward a quit attempt,” says Dr. Ebbert. “In the past, these smokers may have not received medication therapy, and we want them to know that different approaches are available.”

Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Ebbert are available in the downloads.

MEDIA CONTACT: Bryan Anderson, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs,
507-284-5005 
Email: [email protected]

The study enrolled smokers who did not want to quit smoking in the next 30 days, but who were willing to work toward the goal of quitting in the next three months. Smokers were randomized to either six months of varenicline or placebo and their continuous smoking abstinence rates were evaluated at six and 12 months.

The researchers found that 760 participants receiving varenicline were greater than four times more likely to quit than the 750 participants receiving placebo at six months (32.1 percent vs. 6.9 percent) and over two times more likely to quit than participants receiving a placebo at 12 months (27.0 percent vs. 9.9 percent).

“Smokers should know that varenicline can help them quit smoking if they want to reduce their smoking prior to completely stopping,” says Dr. Ebbert. “It’s an effective and safe way to increase long-term smoking cessation.”

The current research was funded by Pfizer NCT01370356.

Co-authors of the study include John Hughes, M.D., University of Vermont; Robert West, Ph.D., Health Behaviour Research Centre, University of London; Stephen Rennard, M.D., University of Nebraska Medical Center; Cristina Russ, M.D.; Thomas McRae, M.D.;  Joan Treadow, R.N., B.S.N.; Ching-Ray Yu, Ph.D.; Michael Dutro, Pharm.D.;and Peter Park, Ph.D., all of Pfizer Inc.

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