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Abstinence from smoking eight years after participation in randomised controlled trial of nicotine patch

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 03 July 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:28
  1. Patricia Yudkin (, reader in medical statistics1,
  2. Kate Hey Yudkin, research officer2,
  3. Sarah Roberts Yudkin, research nurse2,
  4. Sarah Welch, research nurse2,
  5. Michael Murphy, director2,
  6. Robert Walton, senior research fellow3
  1. 1Department of Primary Health Care, University of Oxford, Institute of Health Sciences, Oxford OX3 7LF
  2. 2Cancer Research UK General Practice Research Group, Institute of Health Sciences, Oxford OX3 7LF
  3. 3Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Oxford, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford OX2 6HE
  1. Correspondence to: P Yudkin
  • Accepted 6 March 2003


Few studies have investigated abstinence beyond three years among participants who stop smoking during trials of nicotine replacement therapy,13 and even fewer have followed up smokers who failed to quit during such trials. We carried out an eight year follow up of people who had participated in a randomised controlled trial of the nicotine patch.

Participants, methods, and results

Participants were the 1686 patients from general practices in Oxfordshire who took part in a double blind randomised controlled trial of the patch in 1991-2.4 5 At entry they smoked≥15 cigarettes a day and were aged 25–64 years. Participants wore the patches for 12 weeks. The main outcome was abstinence from smoking for one year, confirmed at 12, 24, and 52 weeks by a salivary cotinine concentration≤20 ng/ml (89% of cases) or expired carbon monoxide≤10 ppm (11%).

In 1999-2000, we contacted 1532 of the 1625 living participants. We …

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