Stop smoking — what works for your patients?

Aug 14 , 2013

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Although rates of smoking have declined over the past decade there are still around 2.8 million Australians who smoke.1 Of all the behavioural risk factors associated with poor health, smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and premature death.

Most smokers want to quit, and with the increases in the tobacco excise, quitting may become an even more important financial consideration for many smokers.2 However, for the proportion of smokers who are dependent on nicotine, unassisted attempts to quit will usually be unsuccessful.

Pharmacological intervention may help smokers who want to quit to do so successfully. However, of the three agents approved for use in Australia — nicotine replacement therapy, varenicline and bupropion — which one makes the most difference to smokers?

A new Cochrane meta-analysis may provide some clarity on which agent is the most effective in helping people quit smoking.