Transdermal Nicotine: The Long and the Short of It

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Cigarette smokers with a mean history of 35 smoking years (N = 98) were randomly assigned to receive either 3 weeks or 12 weeks of transdermal nicotine treatment combined with a 5-session behavioral management program. Participants were followed for 20 weeks. At the conclusion of the study, 26% of the 3-week participants and 29% of the 12-week participants were abstinent. The number of abstinent participants and duration of abstinence were not significantly different between the 2 groups, although statistical power constraints do not rule out the possibility of small undetected differences in outcome. Most participants (68%) smoked at least once during their nicotine patch regimen. Smoking on the patch was associated with poor outcome. Those who smoked while using the patch reported more restlessness and cigarette cravings and lower confidence and intention to quit smoking than did participants who did not smoke during the drug regimen.

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