Cochrane Summaries

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Do any interventions help smokers who have successfully quit for a short time to avoid relapsing?

Hajek P, Stead LF, West R, Jarvis M, Hartmann-Boyce J, Lancaster T
Published Online: 
20 August 2013

Some people start smoking again shortly after quitting and are said to have 'relapsed'. Interventions used to help people avoid relapse usually focus on teaching the skills to cope with temptations to smoke. This approach and others have not been shown to be helpful, either for people who quit on their own or with the help of treatment, or for those who quit because they were pregnant or in hospital. Many trials conducted so far have not been of a strong enough design to detect possible small effects. Among drug treatments, extended use of varenicline may help some smokers. Studies of extended use of nicotine replacement treatment are urgently needed.