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J Gen Intern Med. 1995 Dec;10(12):656-62.

Community patterns of transdermal nicotine use and provider counseling.

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Medical Service, Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, USA.



To examine how transdermal nicotine is prescribed and used in the general population, and to identify variables associated with successful smoking cessation in patch users.


Retrospective cohort survey.


A random sample of 70 pharmacies in King County, Washington, were asked to participate. Of those, 33 pharmacies ran computer searches of prescriptions for any nicotine patch dispensed between July 1 and December 31, 1992. A total of 1,087 individuals receiving patches were identified.


At least eight months after the nicotine patches were purchased, 972 subjects received questionnaires by mail from the participating pharmacies. The survey was completed by 433 (45.2%) subjects.


Eighty percent of the respondents requested patches from a provider, 81% of whom were primary care physicians. Ninety-six percent used the patch, 45% smoked while using the patch, and 37% reported having quit smoking. Smoking cessation was associated with daily patch application (odds ratio [OR] 1.6, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2-2.2), abstinence during patch use (OR 7.7, 95% CI 4.8-12.5), and a longer duration of patch use (p = 0.001). A score reflecting counseling intensity by the provider was associated with abstinence while using patches and smoking cessation (chi 2 for tread = 0.01 and 0.04, respectively).


Most nicotine patch users request treatment from a primary care physician, suggesting motivation to quit. Almost half continue to smoke while using the patch, a behavior that appears related to a lower level of counseling and an inability to quit. Increasing counseling may positively impact nicotine-patch-assisted smoking cessation in the general population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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