Two-fold approach to quitting smoking most successful

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Research suggests smokers are more likely to quit successfully if they use two different types of nicotine replacement therapies at once.

A review of more than 60 different trials, involving 40,000 participants, has found using both a long-acting nicotine patch and a short-acting gum or lozenge boosts the chance of quitting from 14 to 17 per cent, compared to using just one option.

The review was done by researchers from Auckland and Oxford universities.

Co-author Auckland University public health professor Chris Bullen said the difference made by the combination treatment appears marginal when averaged over tens of thousands of people. But the effect was worth making use of, as it could make the difference and help kick a stubborn habit.

"It's certainly better than not doing anything else."

The review also found evidence that beginning nicotine replacement therapies a few weeks before the designated "quit day" improved success rates, Professor Bullen said.