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Nicotine replacement treatment should also be available on the NHS

  1. John Britton, professor of respiratory medicine (j.britton@virgin.net),
  2. Martin J Jarvis, professor of health psychology (martin.jarvis@ucl.ac.uk)
  1. Division of Respiratory Medicine, University of Nottingham, City Hospital, Nottingham NG5 1PB
  2. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, ICRF Health Behaviour Unit, University College London, London WC1E 6BT

    Bupropion was licensed in June by the Medicines Control Agency for use in the United Kingdom to help patients stop smoking. Bupropion is the first new pharmacological treatment for smokers to be introduced since nicotine replacement therapy 20 years ago. Bupropion can potentially have a huge impact on public health not only through the efficacy of the drug itself but also by making smoking cessation services more widely available.

    There are about 13 million regular smokers in the United Kingdom.1 One in every two lifelong smokers will die prematurely from tobacco related causes.2 Interventions to help people stop smoking are cost effective in preventing that premature loss of life, and nicotine replacement products are the most effective treatment available.3 4 About 20% of those given nicotine replacement with support from specialist counsellors will remain non-smokers for one year and up to about 10% will remain non-smokers if given brief advice from a health professional in addition to nicotine replacement.3 This latter approach may potentially have a far greater impact on public health because wider coverage of the population can be achieved. It is also cost effective.5 However, nicotine replacement and counselling services …

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