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Nicotine Replacement Therapy for Smoking Cessation or Reduction: A Review of the Clinical Evidence [Internet]. Ottawa (ON): Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health; 2014 Jan 16.


Cigarette smoking is associated with cancer, respiratory disease, and cardiovascular disease. It is reported that 19% of Canadians aged 15 years and older were smokers in 2007.1 Each year, approximately 45,000 Canadians die from smoking.1 Cigarette smoking is considered the leading preventable cause of mortality.2 Smoking cessation reduces the risk of developing and dying from smoking-related diseases.2 Although approximately 70 percent of smokers plan to quit and over 40 percent of smokers report that they tried to quit, the long-term success rate of any unaided quit attempt is low, with only 3 to 7 percent of smokers who make an attempt still abstinent one year later.2 With optimal treatment, one-year cessation rates after a single quit attempt can exceed 30 percent.2

For most of smokers, smoking is both a learned behavior and a physical addiction to nicotine. The combination of counseling and pharmacologic therapies can produce higher quit rates than either one alone.3 Pharmacotherapy therapy for smoking cessation, including nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), bupropion, and varenicline, aims to reduce the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, thereby making it easier for a smoker to stop the habitual use of cigarettes.3

In NRT, non-toxic forms of nicotine delivery systems are used to provide nicotine to maintain stimulation of nicotine receptors, thereby eliminating withdrawal symptoms and the sensations of craving for nicotine during a smoking cessation attempt. It has been reported that nicotine products can help people to reduce smoking before quitting smoking.4 In 2010, CADTH published a health technology assessment (HTA) report on pharmacologic-based strategies for smoking cessation,1 in which the clinical and cost-effectiveness of NRT products including the nicotine patch, nicotine gum, nicotine inhaler, nicotine lozenge, nicotine nasal spray and nicotine sublingual tablets were systematically evaluated. The author concluded that all pharmacotherapies including NRT are efficacious in helping the general population quit smoking.1 Since the publication of that report, newer NRT products such as Nicorette Quick Mist,510 Nicorette Combo Quit,11 and Nicorette Mini Lozenges12 have entered the Canadian market. Nicorette QuickMist is a mouth spray and is available in a 1 mg nicotine/spray dose strength.510 Nicorette ComboQuit is a combination of nicotine patches plus nicotine gum.11 Nicorette Mini Lozenges come in two strengths (2 mg and 4 mg).12 The 2 mg strength is recommended for smokers who have a first cigarette more than 30 minutes after waking up; the 4 mg lozenge is recommended for those having a first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking up.12 A smoker’s dependence on nicotine can be assessed from the duration of smoking history, the number of cigarettes smoked daily, and how soon the smoker needs to smoke after waking in the morning. The smoker's degree of nicotine dependence predicts the difficulty that the smoker will have in quitting and the intensity of treatment likely to be required.2 The dosing of most NRT products varies based on the number of cigarettes smoked daily.3 Nicotine transdermal patches are supplied in different dosages ranging from 5 mg to 15 mg over 16 hours.1 While there is no standard definition of high dose nicotine product was identified, the high dose of nicotine patch was defined as the dose greater than 22 mg per day.1315

The objective of this review is to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of the newer NRT products including Nicorette QuickMist (or nicotine mouth spray), Nicorette ComboQuit (or combination of patches plus gum) or Nicorette Mini Lozenges (2 mg or 4 mg), use of supratherapeutic doses (high dose) of NRT, and use of NRTs to reduce smoking for those who do not plan to quit.

Copyright © 2014 Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.

Copyright: This report contains CADTH copyright material. It may be copied and used for non-commercial purposes, provided that attribution is given to CADTH.

Links: This report may contain links to other information available on the websites of third parties on the Internet. CADTH does not have control over the content of such sites. Use of third party sites is governed by the owners’ own terms and conditions.

Cover of Nicotine Replacement Therapy for Smoking Cessation or Reduction: A Review of the Clinical Evidence
Nicotine Replacement Therapy for Smoking Cessation or Reduction: A Review of the Clinical Evidence [Internet].

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