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A comprehensive new analysis has found that nicotine e-cigarettes, varenicline and cytisine are the most effective options currently available for helping smokers quit long-term (going at least six months without smoking).

Stubbed out cigarette

This is closely followed by using two forms of nicotine replacement therapy at the same time, such as a nicotine patch alongside gum, lozenges, or nasal sprays. The research was conducted by a team from the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford with colleagues from the University of Leicester.

The study, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, compared the results for different stop-smoking aids that have been used in over 300 clinical trials involving more than 150,000 people. The researchers used a statistical technique to combine data from the studies into a single analysis called “component network meta-analysis” (CNMA). This meant they could compare smoking cessation methods against each other, using both direct comparisons within trials and indirect comparisons across trials. This provided a comprehensive view of the relative effectiveness of each method.

Dr Nicola Lindson, lead author and a Senior Researcher and Lecturer based within Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, emphasised the potential impact of the findings: 'Our research dives deep into the world of smoking cessation. By pulling together data from hundreds of studies and over 150,000 people, we can see that when people use the medicines licenced for quitting smoking or nicotine e-cigarettes, they are more likely to quit than if they do not use these aids. We have also shown that nicotine e-cigarettes, cytisine, and varenicline appear to help more people quit than other products used to stop smoking. Nicotine replacement therapy appears to be almost as effective, but only when a patch is used alongside another form of nicotine replacement, such as gum or nasal spray.'

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website