Smokers taking aid from an initiative called NHS Quitline are generally exposed to additional support in the form of nicotine patches and counseling. However, a study by scientists at the University of Nottingham has shown that extra support offered to quitline callers may not necessarily help them kick the habit of smoking.

An extensive trial constituting 2,591 non-pregnant smokers who accessed NHS Quitline between February 2009 and February 2010, was conducted. Extra support in this trial referred to more telephonic counseling and free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).

Lead author Professor Tim Coleman of the Department of Health and UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies (UKCTCS), cited, “This important trial has shed useful light on how telephone quitlines can be used to help smokers wanting to quit. I think the results highlight just how hard it is for most people to break their addiction to tobacco and just how powerful and damaging a drug this is.”

After follow-up studies, the team found that there were no apparent differences in the rates of smoking for people experiencing standard care and those on extra support. Both proactive counseling and NRT appeared to result in similar benefits as compared to those encountering standard care. As per the outcomes, the number of people giving up smoking was almost the same in both the aforementioned groups.

The team concluded that more advantageous ways of helping quitline smokers are required. This report is published in the recent edition of the British Medical Journal.