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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2005 Dec;78(6):689-96.

Smoking reduction treatment with 4-mg nicotine gum: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study.

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital of Tübingen, Osianderstrasse 24, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany.



Smoking reduction may provide a harm-reduction alternative treatment for smokers who are not ready to quit smoking. This study evaluated the efficacy of nicotine gum in helping smokers reduce or quit smoking.


This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involved 364 smokers who were not ready to quit but were willing to reduce their smoking intensity. Participants received either 4-mg nicotine gum (n = 184) or placebo gum (n = 180) as desired for up to 12 months. The primary outcome was sustained smoking reduction, which was defined as a decrease in daily cigarette consumption of at least 50% compared with baseline. Secondary measures included point-prevalence abstinence, intention to quit, and cardiovascular risk markers.


At 4 months, the sustained smoking reduction rate in the nicotine gum group was twice that of the placebo group (15.8% versus 6.7%, P = .008). Point-prevalence abstinence was 6.6% for the nicotine gum group and 2.2% for the placebo group (P = .07). At 13 months, there was a significant difference in the smoking reduction rate for the nicotine (8.2%) and placebo (2.8%) groups (P = .036). At month 13, the abstinence rates were 12% and 4.5% for the nicotine and placebo groups, respectively (P = .012). Concomitant use of nicotine gum and cigarette smoking was well tolerated. Carbon monoxide levels decreased significantly (P = .01).


Nicotine gum may be an efficacious harm-reduction alternative for smokers who are not ready to quit and may promote smoking cessation, the ultimate goal in the treatment of tobacco dependence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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