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Am J Prev Med. 2008 Aug;35(2):103-10. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2008.04.017.

Nicotine patches and uninsured quitline callers. A randomized trial of two versus eight weeks.

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Department of Health Services, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.



State-level tobacco quitlines are integrating nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) into service. Because of funding limitations some provide short courses of NRT. No randomized trial has evaluated the relative benefit of short versus standard treatment.


A two-cell randomized trial comparing 2 weeks of NRT to 8 weeks.


Uninsured callers to the Oregon Quit Line during a free-patch initiative from October 18, 2004, to May 5, 2005, who were 18 years or older, smoked five or more cigarettes per day, did not have a medical contraindication to NRT use, and were interested in quitting in 30 days. Data were collected from April to November 2005, and analyzed in 2006--2007.


Participants were eligible for two phone counseling sessions. 1154 participants were randomized to receive via the mail either 2 or 8 weeks of nicotine patches.


Primary outcome was self-reported complete abstinence from tobacco for 30 or more days at the 6-month phone survey. Secondary outcomes were 7-day point prevalence and 90-day abstinence, satisfaction, and patch use. ORs and CIs were computed. Cost per quit and incremental cost per additional quit were computed based on program costs.


Intent-to-treat 30-day abstinence was 14.3% in the 2-week group, and 19.6% in the 8-week group (OR 1.45 [CI=1.01, 2.12]). Average cost per quit was $1156 for 2 weeks and $1405 for 8 weeks, with an incremental cost effectiveness of $2068. Satisfaction increased from 90% to 97% with 8 weeks. Those receiving 8 weeks of NRT took more calls (2.0 vs 1.6) and used more patches (6.3 weeks vs 4.3 weeks), but were less likely to purchase patches (16.2% vs 39.3%).


Eight weeks of patches improved quit rates compared with 2 weeks, and was cost effective.

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