UK National Smoking Cessation Conference - UKNSCC
2010 UK National Smoking Cessation Conference - Glasgow more...

Did the introduction of varenicline in England substitute for, or add to, the use of other smoking cessation medications?


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Daniel Kotz, Jenny Fidler and Robert West

Daniel Kotz
Epidemiologist and Post-Doc Researcher, Maastricht University Medical Centre, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Care, Maastricht, The Netherlands

The aim of the current study was to assess whether varenicline substituted for, or added to, the use of other smoking cessation medications.

We used data from 6646 smokers taking part in monthly household surveys in England. We analysed the percentage of smokers attempting to quit and using smoking cessation medication from November 2006 to December 2009; thus covering three periods: (1) after the launch of varenicline but before the publication of the NICE guidance on varenicline in July 2007; (2) the first year following NICE; and (3) more than one year after NICE.

Varenicline usage increased steadily during the second period and levelled off at 6.4% of those making a quit attempt in the third period. The percentage of quitters using any smoking cessation medication increased by 4% from 44.5% in the first period to 48.6% in the third. The use of NRT over-the-counter decreased by 3% (35.4% – 32.4%), whereas the use of NRT on prescription increased by 2% (8.1% – 10.4%), and use of bupropion remained unchanged.

In conclusion, there was no evidence that introduction of varenicline led to a reduction in use of other prescription medication for smoking cessation. The fall in use of NRT over-the-counter seems unlikely to be related to introduction of varenicline.

Source of funding: The Smoking Toolkit Study is funded by Cancer Research UK, Pfizer, J&J, GSK and the English Department of Health. Pfizer, J&J and GSK are manufacturers of smoking cessation products.

Declaration of interest: none

About the presenter
Dr. Daniel Kotz is a post-doc researcher and epidemiologist at CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, the Netherlands. He is also affiliated as an honorary research fellow to the University College London, Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre. He is board member and communication officer of SRNT Europe and assistant editor of the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. His research mainly focuses on the epidemiology of tobacco addiction, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and the pharmacological and behavioural treatment for smoking cessation in primary care. More information:


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