Rapid reduction versus abrupt quitting for smokers who want to stop soon: A randomised controlled non-inferiority trial
Background: The standard way to stop smoking is to stop abruptly on a quit day with no prior reduction in consumption of cigarettes. Many smokers feel that reduction is natural and if reduction programmes were offered, many more might take up treatment. Few trials of reduction versus abrupt cessation have been completed. Most are small, do not use pharmacotherapy, and do not meet the standards necessary to obtain a marketing authorisation for a pharmacotherapy. Design/Methods: We will conduct a non-inferiority randomised trial of rapid reduction versus standard abrupt cessation among smokers who want to stop smoking. In the reduction arm, participants will be advised to reduce smoking consumption by half in the first week and to 25% of baseline in the second, leading up to a quit day at which participants will stop smoking completely. This will be assisted by nicotine patches and an acute form of nicotine replacement therapy. In the abrupt arm participants will use nicotine patches only, whilst smoking as normal, for two weeks prior to a quit day, at which they will also stop smoking completely. Smokers in either arm will have standard withdrawal orientated behavioural support programme with a combination of nicotine patches and acute nicotine replacement therapy post-cessation. Outcomes/Follow-up: The primary outcome of interest will be prolonged abstinence from smoking, with secondary trial outcomes of point prevalence, urges to smoke and withdrawal symptoms. Follow up will take place at 4 weeks, 8 weeks and 6 months post-quit day. Trial Registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN22526020. © 2009 Lindson et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.