CincinnatióResearchers from the University of Cincinnati (UC)
College of Medicine and the VA Medical Center in Cincinnati are
conducting studies to find better treatments to help people stop
smoking. Robert Anthenelli, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at
UC, and his research group who call themselves the SmokeBusters, are
one of eight sites nationwide testing the effectiveness and safety of a
new medication to treat nicotine dependence. The research medication
may help smokers quit smoking by correcting some of the chemical
imbalances in the brain which occur when a person abruptly stops
The three states that comprise our Tristate region have
the highest incidence of smokers in the country. Kentucky ranks number
one, Ohio is second, and Indiana third, according to Anthenelli.
Approximately 30 percent of the residents of those states smoke
regularly, a figure substantially above the national average of 25
Cigarette smoking is a major public health concern.
Tobacco-related mortality accounts for 19 percent of all deaths in the
US each year, making cigarette smoking the leading preventable cause of
premature death in our country. The economic cost due to
tobacco-related illnesses is staggering, amounting to $65 billion spent
each year in the US on smoking-related conditions.
Each year, 34
percent of smokers try to quit, but less than 3 percent succeed.
Medications for smoking cessation increase these quit rates
substantially, especially when combined with behavioral interventions.
Currently, two types of medications are approved by the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) as smoking cessation aids. Nicotine replacement
therapy may be given in the form of chewing gum, skin patches,
inhalers, and sprays. The second type, Zyban (buproprion HCl
sustained-released tablets) is taken orally. Despite the proven
efficacy of these drugs over placebos, only two to three out of ten
smokers who use them remain smoke-free after six months.
medication study being conducted by Anthenelli's group is sponsored by
an international pharmaceutical company. In this placebo-controlled,
double-blind clinical trial, eligible volunteers who are motivated to
quit smoking are randomized to receive either the new medication or a
placebo. All participants receive standardized counseling from a
trained research associate to help them stop smoking. For
more information about befloxatone or participation in the clinical
trial, please call Karen, Stephanie, or Elizabeth at (513) 475-OHIO