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Wellness Tip

Quit-Smoking Drugs: Get Counseling

by Berkeley Wellness  

If you are trying to quit smoking, don’t rely on smoking-cessation drugs alone—they are unlikely to work without counseling, according to a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

In some early clinical trials, the drugs (buproprion, varenicline, and nicotine patches) have been shown to double cessation rates, but that was probably because smokers also received intensive behavioral counseling as part of the intervention. However, in the new study, which analyzed real-world data from two large surveys on tobacco use, researchers found that the drugs did not increase the chances of long-term smoking cessation.

Though the instructions for some of the drugs suggest that quit-smoking support programs can help prevent relapses, fewer than 2 percent of users of the drugs get any counseling. Many states offer free counseling over the phone, including in California, where the Smokers' Helpline is operated by UC San Diego.

Also see Changing Bad Health Habits and Going Cold Turkey to Quit Smoking.