Aim: To determine the combined effect of very low nicotine content (VLNC) cigarettes and usual Quitline care [nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and behavioural support] on smoking abstinence, in smokers motivated to quit.
Design: Single-blind, parallel randomized trial.
Setting: New Zealand. PARTICIPANTS Smokers who called the Quitline for quitting support were randomized to either VLNC cigarettes to use whenever they had an urge to smoke for up to 6 weeks after their quit date, in combination with usual Quitline care (8 weeks of NRT patches and/or gum or lozenges, plus behavioural support) or to usual Quitline care alone.
Measurements: The primary outcome was 7-day point-prevalence smoking abstinence 6 months after quit day. Secondary outcomes included continuous abstinence, cigarette consumption, withdrawal, self-efficacy, alcohol use, serious adverse events and views on the use of the VLNC cigarettes at 3 and 6 weeks and 3 and 6 months.
Findings: A total of 1410 participants were randomized (705 in each arm), with a 24% loss to follow-up at 6 months. Participants in the intervention group were more likely to have quit smoking at 6 months compared to the usual care group [7-day point-prevalence abstinence 33 versus 28%, relative risk (RR) = 1.18, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01, 1.39, P = 0.037; continuous abstinence 23 versus 15%, RR = 1.50, 95% CI: 1.20, 1.87, P = 0.0003]. The median time to relapse in the intervention group was 2 months compared to 2 weeks in the usual care group (P < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Addition of very low nicotine content cigarettes to standard Quitline smoking cessation support may help some smokers to become abstinent.
© 2012 Auckland Uni Services Ltd.