Use of nicotine replacement therapy in socioeconomically deprived young smokers: A community-based pilot randomised control trial

Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Nottingham, Nottigham, England, United Kingdom
Tobacco control (Impact Factor: 5.93). 11/2006; 15(5):373-6. DOI: 10.1136/tc.2005.014514
Source: PubMed


Smoking is common in young people, particularly in disadvantaged groups, and continued smoking has a major impact on quality and quantity of life. Although many young smokers want to stop smoking, little is known about the design and effectiveness of cessation services for them.
To determine whether nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) when combined with counselling is effective in young smokers in a deprived area of Nottingham, UK.
We surveyed smoking prevalence and attitudes to smoking and quitting in young people accessing an open access youth project in a deprived area of Nottingham, and used the information gained to design a community based smoking cessation service incorporating a randomised controlled trial of nicotine patches against placebo given in association with individual behavioural support. We resurveyed smoking prevalence among project attendees after completing the pilot study.
Of 264 young people surveyed (median age 14 years, range 11-21), 49% were regular smokers. A total of 98 young people were recruited and randomised to receive either active nicotine patches on a six week reducing dose regimen (49 participants), or placebo (49 participants). Adherence to therapy was low, the median duration being one week, and 63 participants did not attend any follow up. At four weeks, five subjects receiving active NRT and two receiving placebo were abstinent, and at 13 weeks none were. Adverse effects were more common in the active group but none were serious. Smoking prevalence among 246 youth project attendees surveyed after the trial was 44%.
This study suggests that NRT in this context is unlikely to be effective in young smokers, not least because of low adherence to therapy. It also suggests that young smokers want help with smoking cessation, but that establishing the efficacy of smoking cessation services for young people who need them most will be very difficult.

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    • "That awareness of NRT was higher among educated urban dwellers is not surprising as in many developing countries although there is no extensive provision of tobacco cessation therapies, the few available are likely to be concentrated in urban areas where educational levels are also high and the products are more easily accessible [33,34]. The low levels of awareness of nicotine replacement therapy, and the especially low levels of use of the therapy, does not only illustrate the stage of development of the epidemic [34] but also the need for further health promotion to educate smokers of the effectiveness of cessation support, and for affordable, easily accessible and available formulations. "
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    ABSTRACT: Preventing an epidemic increase in smoking prevalence is a major challenge for developing countries. Ghana, has maintained a low smoking prevalence despite the presence of cigarette manufacturing for many decades. Some of this success may have been contributed by cultural factors and attitudes. We have studied public awareness of health risks, attitudes to smoke-free policy, tobacco advertising/promotion and other factors in a Ghanaian population sample. We used two-stage cluster randomized sampling to study household members aged 14 and over in a representative household sample in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. 6258 people, 88% of those eligible, took part in the study. Knowledge of health risks of smoking and passive smoking was high; radio was the main source of such information. Most people work and/or spend time in places where smoking is permitted. There was very strong support (97%) for comprehensive smoke-free legislation, particularly among Christians and Muslims. Despite the advertising ban, a third of respondents (35%), particularly in urban areas, had noticed advertising of tobacco or tobacco products, on the radio (72%) and television (28%). Among smokers, 76% had attempted to quit in the last 6 months, with the main sources of advice being friends and spouses. Use of nicotine replacement therapy was very rare. Low levels of health awareness were seen in females compared with males (Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR); 0.51, 95% CI 0.39-0.69, p < 0.001). High levels of health awareness was seen among Traditionalists compared with Christians AOR; 2.16 95% CI 0.79-5.94, p < 0.05) and the relatively well educated (AOR; 1.70 95% CI 1.12-2.58, p < 0.05) and those living in rural areas (AOR 1.46 95% CI 1.14-1.87, p = 0.004). Awareness of health risks and support for smoke-free policy are high in Ghana. Exposure to tobacco advertising or promotion is limited and most smokers have tried to quit. Whether these findings are cause or effect of current low smoking prevalence is uncertain.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · BMC Public Health
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    • "While most participants reported a strong desire to quit smoking and had made multiple past quit attempts, predisposing factors acting as barriers to quitting included using smoking as a way of coping with stress, poor self efficacy, and fear of gaining weight. These findings confirm individual level barriers to quitting smoking identified among disadvantaged smokers both in Australia [36-38] and the UK [31,32,51], and particularly highlight the perceived role of stress and coping in continuing to smoke [31,32,38,52], and the perception of willpower as the key to successfully quitting [32]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Smoking rates remain unacceptably high among individuals who are socially disadvantaged. Social and community service organisations (SCSO) are increasingly interested in providing smoking cessation support to clients, however little is known about the best way to assist disadvantaged smokers to quit in this setting. This study aimed to explore barriers and facilitators to quitting within the conceptual framework of the PRECEDE model to identify possible interventions appropriate to the social and community service setting. Semi-structured focus groups were conducted with clients attending five community welfare organisations located in New South Wales, Australia. Thirty-two clients participated in six focus groups. A discussion guide was used to explore the barriers and facilitators to smoking and smoking cessation including: current smoking behaviour, motivation to quit, past quit attempts, barriers to quitting and preferences for cessation support. Focus groups were audio-taped, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis techniques. Participants were current smokers and most expressed a desire to quit. Factors predisposing continued smoking included perceived benefits of smoking for stress relief, doubting of ability to quit, fear of gaining weight, and poor knowledge and scepticism about available quit support. The high cost of nicotine replacement therapy was a barrier to its use. Continual exposure to smoking in personal relationships and in the community reinforced smoking. Participants expressed a strong preference for personalised quit support. Disadvantaged smokers in Australia express a desire to quit smoking, but find quitting difficult for a number of reasons. SCSOs may have a role in providing information about the availability of quit support, engaging disadvantaged smokers with available quit support, and providing personalised, ongoing support.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · BMC Public Health
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    • "The trial was stopped so we were unable to determine whether group support helped more young people to stop smoking than brief advice. We and others in the UK [22,23] found it much more difficult to engage and recruit participants than was anticipated. Hence, we would suggest that investigating methods for engaging and recruiting young people before setting up another randomised control trial of smoking cessation interventions for young people could be a potentially useful way forward. "
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    ABSTRACT: Many young people report they want to stop smoking and have tried to do so, but most of their quit attempts fail. For adult smokers, there is strong evidence that group behavioural support enhances quit rates. However, it is uncertain whether group behavioural support enhances abstinence in young smokers trying to quit. A cluster randomised trial for young people trying to stop smoking to compare the efficacy of a school-based 9 week intensive group behavioural support course versus a school-based 7 week brief advice only course. Participants were assessed for evidence of tobacco addiction and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) was used if it was deemed appropriate by the therapist. Both types of course aimed to recruit approximately one hundred participants from approximately ten schools.The primary outcome was successful quitting at 4 weeks after quit day judged according to the Russell standard. Had the trial been completed, abstinence at 6 months after quit day and the relationships between successful quit attempts and 1) psychological assessments of dependence prior to quitting 2) salivary cotinine concentration prior to quitting and 3) sociodemographic characteristics would also have been assessed. The proportion of participants who stopped smoking in each arm of the trial were compared using Chi square tests.The trial was stopped shortly after it had started because funding to support the therapists running the stop smoking group behavioural support programme was withdrawn. Only three stop smoking courses were completed (two group support courses and one brief advice pharmacotherapy course). Seventeen participants in total entered the trial. At the end of the courses, one participant (10%) attending the group support programme had stopped smoking and no participant attending the brief advice programme had stopped smoking. The trial was stopped so we were unable to determine whether group support helped more young people to stop smoking than brief advice. Engagement and recruitment of participants proved much more difficult than had been anticipated. Fifteen of the seventeen participants reported that quitting smoking was either pretty important or very important to them. Thus, the stop smoking success rate could, nevertheless, be considered disappointing. Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN25181936.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2010 · BMC Research Notes
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