Over‐the‐counter nicotine replacement raises questions regarding its “real world”; efficacy. This was an open‐label, prospective study of 223 smokers who received 42 free nicotine patches and a self‐help booklet via shopping mall distribution. The overall quit rate 6 months following distribution of the nicotine patches was 22% (50/223), almost the same quit rate found 6 weeks following patch distribution (21%, 47/223). Twelve percent (27/223) were abstinent at both 6 weeks and 6 months. Among the 83 participants who did not quit, cigarettes smoked per day dropped from 28 to 18. A substantial subgroup of quitters (14%) who, although still smoking at 6 weeks, were smoke free at 6 months, and it appears they had purposefully delayed a serious quit attempt. These results support the usefulness of nicotine patches in helping smokers quit, even with only minimal intervention such as a self‐help manual.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (6 T26 STO8354), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (KOI DA00450), and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Generalist Physician Faculty Scholar Award (032686).
- Nicotine patches