Personalized computer program increases smokers chances for successfully quitting by more than 50 percent

June 10, 2000

Committed Quitters® program increases chance of success by over 50 percent

Pittsburgh, PA (June 12, 2000) -- Smokers who use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to quit smoking will significantly enhance their chances of success by using a self-help program tailored to their individual needs rather than standard materials, according to a study in the June 12 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. The Committed Quitters program (CQP) uses patented computer software to develop customized behavioral materials that help smokers meet the challenge of staying smoke-free.

"When a person decides to quit smoking using nicotine replacement therapy, in this case Nicorette® nicotine gum, having personalized self-help materials, like the Committed Quitters program, significantly improves their success, compared to relying on 'one-size-fits-all' materials. These tailored materials make a difference in a person's ability to quit smoking," says study author Saul Shiffman, Ph.D. Shiffman directs the Smoking Research Group at the University of Pittsburgh.

Smokers enrolled in the Committed Quitters program showed a 56 percent increase in quitting smoking at 12 weeks versus those who used only nicotine gum and standard materials, according to the study. Moreover, more than one-third, 36.2 percent, of the enrollees were abstinent after six weeks with the help of the program and Nicorette compared with only one-quarter, 24.7 percent, who quit without the CQP.

Specifically, abstinence rates at six and 12 weeks among the 3,627 smokers using nicotine gum in the study were significantly higher for those who received the personalized CQP materials (36.2 percent and 27.6 percent, respectively) compared to those just using the standard audio tape and users guide prepackaged with the gum (24.7 percent and 17.7 percent, respectively). While the smoking abstinence rates dropped from six to 12 weeks, the people using CQP still had significantly higher success.

Based on cognitive behavioral approaches of smoking cessation and the participant's personal information, the CQP materials are designed to support the person's goal of quitting smoking. Information relating to each smoker's history, cessation experience, target quit date, and expected difficulties quitting helped to tailor the materials for a successful individualized quit attempt.

Soon after quitting, participants in the study's two CQP groups received their materials, including a six-week calendar with weekly tips for quitting and maintenance, health information, testimonials from others who quit, and prompts to comply with the NRT medication. The calendar contained specific information such as their target-quit date, tailored health information and week-by-week advice for facing the challenges of quitting. Subsequent mailings also had personalized information aimed at supporting their quitting efforts.

The study, sponsored by SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare, which manufactures Nicorette nicotine gum and NicoDerm®CQ® nicotine patch, evaluated the effectiveness of CQP by randomly assigning into the three treatment groups smokers who had purchased 2 or 4 milligram nicotine polacrilex gum (Nicorette) and called the CQP toll-free enrollment line.

Of the participants, about 54 percent were female, they had smoked for an average of 22 years, and 91 percent had tried previously to quit. Before quitting, they averaged about 26 cigarettes per day, having the first one about 15 minutes after waking up (an indicator of tobacco dependence), on average, and had tried previously to quit about five times. Their average age was about 41 years, but ranged from 18 to 84 years.

"Traditional clinics have not reached even a small fraction of the millions who try to quit smoking each year. With the increased awareness of health benefits and aggressive marketing of over-the-counter smoking cessation medications, the use of pharmacological therapy has dramatically increased. Making effective behavioral treatment similarly available on a mass scale is likely to have a significant public health impact," says Shiffman.
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Sunday, June 11, 2000

The Committed Quitters program is available at no charge via mail or online with the purchase of Nicorette or NicoDerm CQ at http://www.committedquitters.com. Because the CQP is individualized, it provides private, unintrusive help in an efficient and effective manner. As many physicians and others who want to help smokers quit may not have the time or the skills for intensive counseling, CQP offers an efficient and effective smoking cessation support system.

SmithKline Beecham originated the OTC nicotine replacement therapy category with the FDA approval of over-the-counter Nicorette nicotine gum and continues to lead the market after the introduction of the original over-the-counter NicoDerm CQ nicotine patch and the launch of over-the-counter Nicorette Mint. For more information about the latest stop smoking aids, please visit http://www.niconews.com. To learn more about the Committed Quitters program, please visit http://www.committedquitters.com.

SmithKline Beecham -- one of the world's leading health care companies -- discovers, develops, manufactures and markets pharmaceuticals, vaccines, over-the-counter medicines and health-related consumer products. For company information, visit SmithKline Beecham on the World Wide Web at http://www.sb.com.

Porter Novelli

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