Re­searchers’ tick for nico­tine in­haler

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Smok­ers who use a nico­tine in­haler are twice as likely to suc­cess­fully quit, re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Otago in Welling­ton, have found. The re­searchers de­vel­oped and tested a novel nico­tine in­haler to find out whether it helps smok­ers give up.

Study par­tic­i­pants were ran­domly as­signed to re­ceive a nico­tine in­haler plus a nico­tine patch, or a placebo in­haler plus a nico­tine patch. The re­sults were pub­lished in the jour­nal Nico­tine and To­bacco Re­search.

Study team leader Pro­fes­sor Ju­lian Crane said the find­ings were the first ev­i­dence that in­haled nico­tine from a sim­ple stan­dard in­haler was highly ef­fec­tive and sub­stan­tially in­creased a smoker’s chances of quit­ting com­pared to the best cur­rent nico­tine re­place­ment treat­ment.

‘‘Cur­rently most smok­ers use nico­tine patches to help them stop smok­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘This study shows that if you add a nico­tine in­haler to a nico­tine patch, it dou­bles the chances of quit­ting over a nico­tine patch alone.’’

Although there is con­sid­er­able in­ter­est in the use of e-cig­a­rettes to help smok­ers give up to­bacco, many coun­tries, in­clud­ing New Zealand, are hes­i­tant to in­tro­duce them to the mar­ket be­cause they are largely un­reg­u­lated.

‘‘There is con­sid­er­able de­bate about whether in­haled nico­tine is help­ful for peo­ple who wish to stop smok­ing.

‘‘This is the first study to show that in­haled nico­tine from a me­tered dose in­haler in the con­text of a smoker want­ing to stop dou­bles their chances of quit­ting.’’

The nico­tine in­haler gives a me­tered dose of nico­tine and of­fers an al­ter­na­tive ther­a­peu­tic op­tion for in­haled nico­tine, us­ing a stan­dard de­vice that has been used for many decades for treat­ment of asthma.

‘‘Un­like elec­tronic cig­a­rettes, the in­haler has no phys­i­cal as­so­ci­a­tions to smok­ing it­self.

‘‘It also has ben­e­fits in that it is much less likely to be used in­ap­pro­pri­ately to ad­min­is­ter other drugs, given that it is a com­pletely sealed unit.’’

‘‘New Zealand has been a world leader in to­bacco con­trol public pol­icy and this home­grown de­vel­op­ment of­fers a world-first op­por­tu­nity to help the 80 per cent or more of smok­ers who want to quit achieve their aims.’’

The re­searchers are in­ves­ti­gat­ing how to make the in­haler avail­able to all smok­ers who would like to use it.

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