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Quit-Smoking Drug Chantix May Also Help Folks Stop Vaping
  • Posted May 21, 2024

Quit-Smoking Drug Chantix May Also Help Folks Stop Vaping

A quit-smoking drug appears to help people drop their vaping addiction, a new study shows.

Vapers who took varenicline (Chantix) were significantly more likely to quit using e-cigarettes loaded with nicotine than those randomly assigned to receive a placebo, researchers found.

“We had a 15 percent difference in quit rates, with those in the medication group having a quit rate of 45 percent,” said lead researcher Lisa Fucito, director of the Tobacco Treatment Service at the Yale Cancer Center in New Haven, Conn.

Varenicline is a pill that helps people quit smoking by blocking the pleasant effects of nicotine on the brain, according to the National Institutes of Health.

It's long been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help people stop smoking tobacco cigarettes, so researchers wondered if it could be used to help quit e-cigarettes.

“People can get to very high levels of nicotine exposure with these e-cigarette products, and they can use them near constantly throughout the day. So, the question we all have is, ‘Can any pharmacotherapy stand up to this challenge?'” Fucito said in a Yale news release.

About 5% of U.S. adults use e-cigarettes, a number that rises to nearly 15% among young adults 18 to 24.

The new study involved 40 patients randomly assigned to take either varenicline or a placebo pill. 

All participants underwent eight weeks of treatment. Along with the pills, they also got a booklet on vaping cessation and a single counseling session.

About 45% of the varenicline patients had successfully quit vaping after eight weeks, compared with 30% of the patients receiving a placebo, results show.

The new study was published May 16 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Based on these results, large-scale trials should be undertaken to confirm that varenicline can help patients quit vaping, the researchers concluded.

“We need more pharmacotherapy treatments to help address the really strong physical dependence that can develop from e-cigarette use," Fucito said. "People undergo significant withdrawal when they try to stop, and that withdrawal is so unpleasant and hard to manage with just behavioral support alone."

More information

The National Institutes of Health has more about varenicline.

SOURCE: Yale School of Medicine, news release, May 16, 2024

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