Exploratory survey study of long-term users of nicotine replacement therapy in Danish consumers

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Gitte Borup, Kim Lyngby Mikkelsen, Philip Tønnesen, Lona Louring Christrup

Background: Long-term use of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) has been approved in several countries for smokers
who are unable or unwilling to quit smoking. However, information on basic characteristics, degree of nicotine
dependence, health status and contentment with long-term use of NRT is scarce. The aim of this study was to
collect information on the characteristics of long-term NRT users, having used NRT for at least 12 months, reasons
for, and contentment with, their continued use of NRT including reasons for wishing to quit or sustain use and
an estimation of their degree of nicotine dependence.
Method: Through advertisements in three national Danish newspapers, long-term NRT users were recruited to
answer a short questionnaire about basic characteristics, health status and satisfaction with using NRT. A modified
version of the Heaviness of Smoking Index (HSI) questionnaire was applied to estimate nicotine dependence. Linear
regression was used to test association between time to first NRT and daily dosage of NRT.
Results: A total of 92 respondents were included in the data analysis. A majority of 88% wished to quit NRT for the
following reasons: costs of NRT, being tired of feeling addicted and fear of adverse health effects. Scoring on the
modified HSI scale was 22.0% low, 68.0% moderate and 9.3% high dependent. Of the respondents, 67.0% used NRT
within the first 30 min after waking. A validation check found a significant linear association between the two items in
the modified HSI.
Conclusion: A significant majority of users wished to quit NRT because of the cost of products, being tired of feeling
addicted and fear of adverse health consequences. The majority of these users were moderate to high nicotine
dependent. The strong association found between time to first NRT and NRT dosages used per day gives reason
to believe the validity of the modified HSI. Further studies are required for confirmation. Better counselling of
long-term users on the benefits of using NRT compared to smoking should be provided, for those who are chronically
dependent, as well as support to stop long-term use of NRT if wanted.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHarm Reduction Journal
Volume12
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
ISSN1477-7517
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2015

ID: 131106835