The study showed that this approach can successfully translate to the "real world" and that a combination of the two treatments offers almost a threefold chance of success over attempts to quit without using a cessation aid.
Daniel Kotz, PhD, from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, said that randomized clinical trials had a high internal validity, but because they were conducted under very strict conditions, they did not reflect the real world in which these treatments were supposed to be used and they therefore conducted a study to compare the various smoking cessation methods in the real world.
Investigators conducted a prospective cohort study in a random sample of 1,560 adult smokers who took part in an English national household survey between November 2006 and March 2012.
The study showed that a total of 23 percent reported not smoking at the end of the six-month period.
The investigators found that smokers who used a combination of specialist behavioral support and medication in their quit attempts reported higher levels of urges to smoke than did smokers who tried to quit unaided. After adjusting for this, they found smokers using the combination approach had almost three times the odds of success than did those who used neither medication nor behavioral support.
A combination of prescription medication along with limited behavioral support was also more effective than unaided quitting. They found however that smokers who bought nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) over the counter with no behavioral support had a reduced success rate.
J. Taylor Hays, MD, Director of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center in Rochester, Minnesota, said that tobacco use continued to be prevalent and deadly in the United States and worldwide.
Further, smoking cessation was one of the most important health behavior changes that they could encourage in their patients.
The study is published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.