Nicotine replacement therapy: evidence from observational studies versus clinical trials

Simon Chapman
Med J Aust 2012; 197 (1): 28. || doi: 10.5694/mja12.10590

To the Editor: George,1 who has received a research grant from Pfizer on smoking cessation, makes the manifestly incorrect statement that “there is no evidence for the effectiveness of cold turkey cessation, especially in moderate to heavy smokers”. In fact, it has always been the case that the most common method used by ex-smokers in their final successful attempt to quit is cold turkey.2

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  • Simon Chapman

  • School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.

Competing interests:

I have a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council for research on the natural history of unassisted smoking cessation. I am a board member of Action on Smoking and Health, Australia.

  • 1. George J. Nicotine replacement therapy: evidence from observational studies versus clinical trials. Med J Aust 2012; 196: 383. <MJA full text>
  • 2. Chapman S, Mackenzie R. The global research neglect of unassisted smoking cessation: causes and consequences. PLoS Medicine 2010; 7: e1000216. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000216.
  • 3. Shiffman S, Di Marino ME, Sweeney CT. Characteristics of selectors of nicotine replacement therapy. Tob Control 2005; 14: 346-355.
  • 4. Etter JF, Stapleton JA. Nicotine replacement therapy for long-term smoking cessation: a meta-analysis. Tob Control 2006; 15: 280-285.
  • 5. American Cancer Society. Cancer facts and figures (1986). Atlanta: ACS, 1986.
  • 6. Pierce JP, Cummins SE, White MM, et al. Quitlines and nicotine replacement for smoking cessation: do we need to change policy? Ann Rev Pub Health 2012; 33: 341-356.


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