Nicotine patches 'can work'

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The Independent Online
NICOTINE patches can help heavy smokers to give up, doctors said yesterday.

More than 1,500 heavy smokers took part in trials in which some were given nicotine patches and others dummy patches. After three months, more of those in the active patch group had managed to stop for at least a month, the research at an Imperial Cancer Research Fund GP practice in Oxfordshire found.

In a separate study, a research team led by Professor Michael Russell, of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, compared 18 weeks of nicotine patch treatment with 18 weeks of dummy patches in 600 heavy smokers.

The active patches reduced the craving for a cigarette, bad moods and irritability in the early stages. After a year, almost twice as many in the nicotine patch group had managed to stop altogether. Both studies are reported in the latest edition of the British Medical Journal.