Table 3—

Effectiveness of treatments to aid smoking cessation

TreatmentComparisonIncrease in those abstinent for 6 months#Increase in permanent abstinence as a result of treatment
Nicotine replacement therapy all forms 8–12 weeks
    Without behavioural supportPlacebo52.5
    With behavioural supportPlacebo with behavioural support105
Drug with behavioural support
    Bupropion 300 mg b.i.d 8 weeksPlacebo with behavioural support105
    Nortriptyline 1.5 mg b.i.d. 8 weeksPlacebo with behavioural support105
    Varenicline 1.5mg b.i.d. 12 weeksPlacebo with behavioural support157.5
Behavioural support 4–8 weeks
    Face-to-face from a specialistBrief advice or written materials52.5
    Telephone-basedBrief advice or written materials52.5
Combination of behavioural support and medicationQuitting without help10–205–10
  • Data are presented as %. #: percentage of all smokers treated; thus if the placebo rate is 5% and the active treatment rate is 10% the increase is 5%. Figures are based on percentage differences in relevant tables from the Cochrane reviews [2025] rounded to the nearest 5%. : 50% of the effect size at 6 months.