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.
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