Study finds most smokers lack knowledge on ways to quit smoking

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Almost half of all smokers try and fail to quit their addiction to nicotine products each year, according to a study released Wednesday.

A contributing factor to the high rate of failed quit attempts is the low use of nicotine-replacement therapies, the study found. That may be because of misperceptions around the health effects of NRTs.

The study, which was fielded in partnership by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare and Legacy, reported that 93% of smokers did not know smoking while wearing the nicotine patch does not cause heart attacks; 76% of smokers did not know nicotine patch, gum and lozenge products are not as addictive as cigarettes; and 69% of smokers did not know NRT products are not as harmful as cigarettes.

"The data indicate a need to further inform smokers about the methods that can effectively help them quit," stated Saul Shiffman, researcher on the study, professor in the departments of psychology and pharmaceutical science at the University of Pittsburgh and senior scientific adviser at Pinney Associates, which provides consulting services to GSK. "Of particular note, 84% of respondents requested feedback on their incorrect answers in the survey, suggesting smokers want information regarding quitting and are interested in learning about the safety and efficacy of cessation strategies."

Findings from the study were published in a recent issue of the journal Addictive Behaviors.