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Does free or lower cost smoking cessation medication stimulate quitting? Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Netherlands and UK surveys
  1. Floor A van den Brand1,
  2. Gera E Nagelhout1,2,3,
  3. Karin Hummel2,
  4. Marc C Willemsen2,4,
  5. Ann McNeill5,
  6. Onno C P van Schayck1
  1. 1Department of Family Medicine, Maastricht University (CAPHRI), Maastricht, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Health Promotion, Maastricht University (CAPHRI), Maastricht, The Netherlands
  3. 3IVO Addiction Research Institute, The Hague, The Netherlands
  4. 4Netherlands Expertise Center for Tobacco Control (NET), Trimbos Institute, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  5. 5Department of Addictions, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience, King’s College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Floor A van den Brand, Department of Family Medicine, Maastricht University (CAPHRI), Maastricht, The Netherlands; f.vandenbrand{at}maastrichtuniversity.nl

Abstract

Objective To investigate whether mentioning free or lower cost smoking cessation medication as a trigger for thinking about quitting is related to higher medication use, more quit attempts and quit success, and whether these associations are modified by education and income.

Methods Data were derived from the 2013 and 2014 surveys of the International Tobacco Control Netherlands (n=1164) and UK (n=768) cohort. Logistic regression analyses were used to assess associations between mentioning in 2013 that free/lower cost smoking cessation medication was a trigger for thinking about quitting smoking and the use of medication, quit attempts and smoking cessation in 2014.

Results 37.0% of smokers in the UK and 24.9% of smokers in the Netherlands mentioned free/lower cost medication as a trigger for thinking about quitting. Smokers who mentioned this trigger were more likely to have used cessation medication during a quit attempt both in the UK (OR=4.19, p<0.001) and in the Netherlands (OR=2.14, p=0.033). The association between mentioning free/lower cost medication as a trigger for thinking about quitting and actual quit attempts was significant in the UK (OR=1.45, p=0.030), but not in the Netherlands (OR=1.10, p=0.587). There was no significant association with quit success. Associations did not differ across income and education groups.

Conclusion Free/lower cost smoking cessation medication may increase the use of cessation medication and stimulate quit attempts among smokers with low, moderate and high education and income.

  • cessation
  • price
  • socioeconomic status

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Footnotes

  • Contributors FAB and GEN conducted the statistical analyses together and FAB drafted the manuscript. All authors contributed to the writing of the manuscript and revised and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The ITC Netherlands Surveys were supported by grants from the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw #200130002). The ITC UK Surveys were supported by grants R01 CA 100362 and P01 CA138389 from the National Cancer Institute of the USA, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (115016).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Detail has been removed from this case description/these case descriptions to ensure anonymity. The editors and reviewers have seen the detailed information available and are satisfied that the information backs up the case the authors are making.

  • Ethics approval The survey protocols and all materials, including the survey questionnaires, were cleared for ethics by Research Ethics Office, King’s College London, UK; Office of Research Ethics, University of Waterloo, Canada for ITC UK Surveys and Office of Research Ethics, University of Waterloo, Canada for ITC Netherlands Surveys.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data available.

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