A study commissioned by the Department of Health and the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies has found that additional help offered to people wanting to quit smoking, in the form of free nicotine patches and extra counselling, makes little or no difference to their success.
The research, conducted by researchers at the University of Nottingham and published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), found that additional support, on top of that which is already offered as standard from the NHS, did not help smokers to quit.
During the study over 2500 smokers who were trying to quit were followed over the course of a year. The smokers were split into four groups, each of which was offered different methods and levels of support to help them quit smoking. Each group received the standard services offered by the NHS Stop Smoking Services, including advice, emails and access to a helpline, but three groups were also offered ‘additional’ help in the form of an intensive course of counselling, free nicotine replacement patches, or a combination of the two.
The results of the study showed that there was no significant difference in the quitting smoking success rate between the different groups.
Professor Tim Coleman of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies said “on the basis of this study, giving out free nicotine patches and more intensive telephone counselling through the English national quitline just doesn't seem to work.”
In the light of the results of the study, the Department of Health has said that it will no longer offer additional support services to people trying to quit smoking.