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Nicotine gum and patches working in NZ

Media Release 17 September 2002

Nicotine gum and patches working in NZ

An overseas report critical of nicotine patches and gum as an aid to quitting smoking has little application to the New Zealand situation, and appears to vindicate the Government’s subsidised programme, says The Quit Group.

Criticisms in the report were that nicotine products were less effective when sold over the counter than when prescribed by doctors, who also supplied support and encouragement. The products were also criticised as being ineffective for light smokers.

“There is strong evidence from a number of scientific studies that all forms of NRT available in New Zealand increase quit rates very significantly,” said Jane Mills, Quitline Manager.

“Subsidised NRT is available only from the Quitline and from approved providers around New Zealand who supply the kind of support and advice which the report implies is necessary for the effective use of the products,” she said.

The Quitline was initially set up to provide quitters with counselling support, advice and written information. In December 2000, the Quitline began to distribute exchange cards for government-subsidised nicotine patches and gum, and in the following year local health providers also became part of the programme.

“While we have no definitive results, early indications are that the programme is successful in helping people to quit, and in achieving quitting rates of around 51% at three months, compared with about 29% without NRT,” she said.


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