Motivation, it’s often said, is half the battle of behavior change. In the battle against nicotine addiction, however, motivation alone may not be enough. Mass media campaigns have helped to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking. But for the majority of smokers who already want to quit, the question remains: how?
A study published this week in NEJM compared the effectiveness of cytisine versus nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation. 1300 adult smokers in New Zealand were randomized to receive either cytisine for 25 days or nicotine replacement therapy for 8 weeks. Participants also received behavioral support. At one month, 40% of participants in the cytisine group reported continuous abstinence, as compared to 31% of those on nicotine replacement therapy (absolute difference of 9.3 percentage points; 95% confidence interval 4.2 to 14.5; number needed to treat = 11). Abstinence was also higher with cytisine than with nicotine replacement therapy at two and six months.