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

Is the use of NRT for cutting down and for periods of temporary abstinence associated with desire and intention to quit and self-efficacy?


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Emma Beard and Robert West

Emma Beard
PhD Research, University College London, UK

Background: A key question is whether the use of NRT for harm reduction has any effect on cessation rates. Some argue that it may promote quitting through enhanced self-efficacy and motivation, while others that it might deter quitting by leading smokers to be less concerned about the effects of smoking on their health. Evidence from RCTs supports the prior argument. However, it is unclear how far these findings generalise to smokers in the general population.

Methods: Data was used from the Smoking Toolkit Study, a crosssectional household survey of adults aged 16+. 12,221 participants were recruited and asked whether they were cutting down, if so whether they used NRT, and whether they used NRT for periods of enforced abstinence. A number of demographic variables and nicotine dependence, as well as desire and intention to quit and self-efficacy, were assessed.

Findings: 53% of smokers reported they were cutting down, 14% that they were cutting down with NRT and 14% were using NRT for temporary abstinence. Use of NRT to cut down and for temporary
abstinence was strongly positively associated with desire and intention to quit. No significant association was found with self-efficacy.

Conclusion: These data establish a prima facie case that the use of NRT for harm reduction may promote rather than deter quitting, through increasing an individuals’ motivation and intention to quit
but not through boosting self-efficacy.

Source of funding: UKCTCS and Cancer Research UK

Declaration of interest: Robert West undertakes research and consultancy and receives fees for speaking from companies that develop and manufacture smoking cessation medications. He also has a share of a patent for a novel nicotine delivery device. His funding is primarily from Cancer Research UK and the Department of Health. He is a trustee of the stop-smoking charity, QUIT

About the presenter

Emma Beard graduated with a BSc in Experimental Psychology in 2007 from the University of Bristol. She then attained a Masters in Health Psychology with Distinction in 2008 from Kings College London and is currently undertaking a PhD at University College London in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. Her thesis is looking at the impact of harm reduction using NRT on subsequent cessation attempts and is funded by the UKCTCS.


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