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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 12/21/02
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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Ring in the New Year Without Smoking

Cincinnati--Quitting smoking consistently ranks among the top three resolutions made by New Year's resolvers each year. But contrary to widespread opinion, a considerable proportion of New Year resolvers do succeed, at least in the short run. This is inspiring news for the approximately 40 to 50 percent of adults living in the Tri-state region who will follow the annual tradition of making a New Year's resolution.

According to Robert Anthenelli, MD, of the College of Medicine's Tri-State Tobacco and Alcohol Research Center, one recent study found that, "the success rate of resolutions is approximately 10 times higher than the success rate of adults desiring to change their behavior but not making a resolution." Thus, resolving to quit smoking this New Year may actually help increase an individual's likelihood of succeeding, especially if he or she follows other guidelines found to be effective aids in helping smokers quit, such as combining pharmacological and behavioral treatments.

The Clinical Practice Guideline, Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence, sponsored by the United States Public Health Service advises that patients willing to try to quit tobacco should be provided with a combination of treatments that includes counseling and behavioral therapies as well as one of the effective pharmacotherapies. These pharmacotherapies include bupropion SR and nicotine replacement therapy such as nicotine gum, patches, inhaler or nasal spray. Bupropion SR and nicotine nasal spray or inhalers require a physician's prescription. However, nicotine patches and gum can be bought over-the-counter without a prescription. "Still," Dr. Anthenelli recommends, "a person should consult with her or his doctor regarding the best choice of medication to use."

Even with the best combined treatment, quitting smoking and staying quit is still a difficult task. "Only two or three out of 10 individuals typically succeed in the short-term, usually measured at three to six months after the quit attempt. However, this 20 to 30 percent quit rate is still better than that achieved by individuals trying to quit on their own, where typically only five to 10 percent will succeed," said Dr. Anthenelli.

Another option for those patients who have tried to quit previously but failed is to consider enrolling in a clinical trial of one of the investigational medications being developed to help smokers quit. The Tri-State Tobacco and Alcohol Research Center is currently enrolling patients in such a trial. In addition to getting a physical exam, laboratory tests and electrocardiogram, all without cost, subjects who meet eligibility requirements for the study receive counseling by trained counselors, weekly monitoring, and physician supervision. To learn more about the research group's current study, call the Tri-State Tobacco and Alcohol Research Center at (513) 475-OHIO (6446).

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