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Smokers wanted for university’s stop-smoking trial

Press Release – University of Auckland
A clinical trial by the University of Auckland is calling for smokers in Wellington and the Wairarapa to take part in their stop-smoking programme using nicotine patches and e-cigarettes.

Last month the Government announced plans to change the law regulating e-cigarettes that will legalise the sale and supply of nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquid as consumer products. However these changes need to go through Parliament before they can take effect, and will likely not happen until the middle of 2018 at the earliest.

Meanwhile the University’s National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI) has been running a stop-smoking programme called ASCEND-II since March 2016. The Health Research Council funded trial has permission to offer nicotine e-cigarettes to smokers wanting to quit smoking.

The trial aims to have 1809 smokers nationwide, including Wellington and Wairarapa, take part in the trial in which participants are randomly allocated to one of three groups. One group will be asked to use nicotine patches for their quit attempt, another group will be asked to use both nicotine patches and nicotine e-cigarettes, and the third group will be asked to use nicotine patches and nicotine-free e-cigarettes. All products are provided free to participants.

NIHI is a leading New Zealand research institute with a focus on the prevention and management of common serious diseases and effective healthcare.

“We want to find out how effective the current most popular, proven quit smoking treatment (the nicotine patch) is at helping people quit smoking when used alone or in combination with e-cigarettes,” says Associate Professor Natalie Walker, the lead researcher on the trial.

Smoking is a leading cause of death and disability in New Zealand. “The treatments offered in the trial could increase the number of smokers quitting, and greatly improve their health and prolong their life,” Dr Walker says.

It is thought that e-cigarettes help smokers manage some of the habitual behaviours associated with smoking (such as the hand to mouth actions) whilst they are trying to quit. Dr Walker says exactly how much e-cigarettes help people quit is not really clear – especially if they have nicotine in them or if they are combined with nicotine patches.

“That is why we are running this trial – we hope to answer these questions,” Dr Walker says.

The e-cigarettes used for this trial are of high quality, and are being purchased directly from NZVAPOR. The e-juice used for this trial is also of high quality and is being purchased directly from Nicopharm. Both companies have no links with the tobacco industry.

Smokers from the Wellington and Wairarapa regions are welcome to take part in the trial if you meet the criteria below:

• You smoke tobacco cigarettes (non-daily smokers are also eligible)
• You live in New Zealand
• You are keen to quit smoking in the next two weeks
• You are at least 18 years of age
• You have access to telephone (mobile and/or landline)
• You are prepared to use a nicotine patch alone OR a nicotine patch and e-cigarette together

Read more about the Ascend-II [1] trial, email ascend-2@auckland.ac.nz [2] or call 09 923 1751 if interested in taking part in the trial.

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