Introduction: Telephone counseling through quitlines combined with cessation medication is an effective strategy to support tobacco cessation. This study assessed the characteristics of quitline enrollees selecting varenicline (Chantix) compared with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) medication and evaluated the cessation outcomes (7-day point prevalence) among these enrollees at 3 and 6 months after program completion.
Methods: A retrospective study analyzed demographic, tobacco use history, and abstinence outcome information of participants who enrolled in the Montana Tobacco Quit Line program and selected varenicline (n = 3,116) or NRT (n = 3,697).
Results: Participants selecting varenicline had significantly different demographic characteristics and tobacco use histories compared with enrollees selecting NRT. In the bivariate analyses, the odds of abstinence were greater among persons using varenicline compared with NRT at 3 months (22% and 13%; odds ratio [OR] = 1.85 95% CI 1.50-2.29) and 6 months (17% and 11%; OR = 1.66 95% CI 1.23-2.24). Independently, varenicline use, increasing age, having health insurance, and a greater number of counseling sessions were associated with tobacco use abstinence at 3 months. Only increasing age and a greater number of counseling sessions were independently associated with 6-month abstinence.
Discussion: Organizations providing varenicline as part of their quitline services should anticipate that participants selecting this medication have different demographic characteristics and tobacco use histories. The findings suggest that the addition of varenicline enhances 3-month abstinence rates and that the tobacco user's commitment to quit may be the most important predictor of successfully quitting.