Efficacy of anti-smoking treatments in question

NEW YORK Treatments that are used to help smokers quit the habit have been shown not to have very effective results, based on studies conducted by the companies that manufacture them.

According to the American Legacy foundation, smokers quit an average of 11 times. The problem with anti-smoking drugs is that they only address the physiological parts of the addiction and not the behavioral. David Gonzales, co-director of the smoking cessation center at the Oregon Health and Science Center in Portland, feels that the only way to control the behavior aspect of quitting would be by counseling, according to CNN.

The most promising drug is Chantix, according to a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, where—during a 12-week period—about half the patients tested were able to quit smoking. However, after the 12-week period, the number of smokers that successfully quit went from half to about one in four.

Health risks related to suicidal behavior have be reported in conjunction with many of the drugs, such as Chantix or Zyban, which is said to be only 14.6 percent effective.

In addition to the pills, a vaccine has also entered the debate as an option for smokers trying to quit. The new alternative, available in 2010, Nabi Biopharmaceuticals’ NicVAX is said to be 42 percent effective after 12 months. As a result of all the new treatments available, most experts agree that there is room for improvement in this field, but until then smokers will have to be careful with whichever medications they use to curb their addiction.