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Study Questions Effectiveness of Nicotine Replacement Therapies

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Nicotine patches and nicotine gum, which are supposed to help smokers kick the habit for good, don't work in the long run, according to new research out of Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Massachusetts Boston.

The study was done over a six-year period following nearly 800 Massachusetts smokers who had recently quit.

According to the team of researchers, these nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), which provide smokers with the satisfaction of nicotine minus the dangers, don't appear to be effective in getting cigarette addicts to give up their habit for the long term.

The study also finds that coupling the use of NRTs with cessation counseling is proving to be ineffective for smokers looking to quit.  The researchers suggest that going cold turkey may be just as helpful without all the costs associated with these stop-smoking aids.

As a result, they question whether the government should bother providing public funds for NRTs when it appears that anti-smoking campaigns, promotion of no-smoking policies and steep tobacco price hikes seemed to have done more to get people to quit.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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