Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 10, Issue 12, pp 656–662 | Cite as

Community patterns of transdermal nicotine use and provider counseling

  • Susan H. Swartz
  • Allan J. Ellsworth
  • Susan J. Curry
  • Edward J. Boyko
Original Articles


OBJECTIVES: To examine bow transdermal nicotine is prescribed and used in the general population, and to identity variables associated with successful smoking cessation in patch users.

DESIGN: Retrospective cohort survey.

SETTING: A random sample of 70 pharmacies in King County, Washington, were asked to participate. Of those, 33 pharmacies ran computer searches of prescriptions for any nicotine patch dispensed between July 1 and December 31,1992. A total of 1,087 individuals receiving patches were identified.

PATIENTS: At least eight months after the nicotine patches were purchased, 972 subjects received questionnaires by mail from the participating pharmacies. The survey was completed by 433 (45.2%) subjects.

MAIN RESULTS: Eighty percent of the respondents requested patches from a provider, 81% of whom were primary care physicians. Ninety-six percent used the patch, 45% smoked while using the patch, and 37% reported having quit smoking. Smoking cessation was associated with daily patch application (odds ratio [OR] 1.6,95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2–2.2), abstinence during patch use (OR 7.7, 95% CI 4.8–12.5), and a longer duration of patch use (p=0.001). A score reflecting counseling intensity by the provider was associated with abstinence while using patches and smoking cessation (x2 for trend=0.01 and 0.04, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: Most nicotine patch users request treatment from a primary care physician, suggesting motivation to quit. Almost half continue to smoke while using the patch, a behavior that appears related to a lower level of counseling and an inability to quit. Increasing counseling may positively impact nicotine-patch-assisted smoking cessation in the general population.

Key words

smoking smoking cessation nicotine transdermal transcutaneous administration pharmacy 


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan H. Swartz
    • 1
  • Allan J. Ellsworth
    • 2
  • Susan J. Curry
    • 3
  • Edward J. Boyko
    • 1
  1. 1.the Medical ServiceVeteran Affairs Medical CenterSeattle
  2. 2.the Departments of Pharmacy and Family MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattle
  3. 3.the Center for Health StudiesGroup Health CooperativeSeattle

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