Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

When so much time and effort goes into developing the best medical treatments, we expect them to be available when we need them. The same goes for addiction treatments, so it’s worrying that two of the most effective drugs for quitting smoking aren’t available in the UK.

The Conversation logo

They’re called varenicline and cytisine; members of a family of stop-smoking medicines called “nicotine receptor partial agonists”. They work by stopping nicotine from binding to receptors in the brain and reducing the rewarding effects of smoking while stimulating the brain to reduce nicotine withdrawal and the cravings caused by quitting.

Varenicline (brand names: Champix and Chantix) is an effective drug for treating tobacco addiction and is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines. This means that it is used to address an important health concern and everyone should have access to it.

Read the full story on the Conversation website co-authored by  and  from the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford.