Dunja Przulj, a psychologist working at Queen Mary University of London, carried out the study, which shows that nicotine replacement therapies are more successful when smokers are able to choose the amount of alkaloids they wish to consume.
50 smokers interested in quitting tobacco participated in the eight-week study. During the first week, they received a daily dose of 21 mg of nicotine through the use of a patch. Between the second week and the beginning of the fifth week, participants had the freedom to increase the total amount of nicotine patches on their body (up to four). Afterwards, between the fifth week and eighth week, the doses of nicotine were reduced progressively before culminating with the original dose.
Smokers under close surveillance
Throughout the study, researchers surveyed the participants and their habits, including their respective nicotine doses, potential side effects, the number of cigarettes smoked, etc. Researchers also analyzed just how strong each participant’s desire was to smoke.
Amongst the 50 smokers who initially participated in the study, 47 finished, i.e. 97%. 36 out of 50 (72%) received the maximum amount of nicotine allowed. 41 participants (82%) were abstinent for 4 weeks. In terms of negative side effects, researchers only noted minor and manageable nausea. They also noted that cigarette consumption rates as well as the desire to smoke dropped significantly before participants stopped smoking altogether.
Researchers concluded that smokers seem to tolerate nicotine doses of up to 84mg per day for 4 weeks. Afterwards, smokers are able to stop smoking without experiencing any negative side effects.
These results may help explain why e-cigarettes are useful tools for helping smokers quit tobacco. Indeed, the e-cigarette allows for variable doses, allowing smokers to wean themselves according to their individual needs.