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Publication Detail
Nicotine replacement therapy use among smokers and ex-smokers: Associated attitudes and beliefs: A qualitative study
© 2014 Silla et al.; licensee BioMed Central. Background: Smokers who are unwilling or unable to quit smoking may benefit from using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for harm reduction. This may include the partial or complete substitution of cigarettes with NRT. A taxonomy of the characteristics of those using NRT for harm reduction would be helpful in tailoring advice and treatment. Although attempts to categorize those using NRT for harm reduction have been made, these have largely been based on quantitative data. In order to provide further in-depth exploration of views, beliefs and experiences, the current study probed issues surrounding NRT and harm reduction qualitatively to better understand barriers and facilitators to this approach. Methods: Three groups of participants (n = 15) were recruited from a student sample: current smokers with a history of NRT use, smokers without a history of NRT use, and ex-smokers with a history of NRT use. Participants were asked about their demographic characteristics, smoking behaviours, intention and perceived ability to quit smoking, awareness and use of NRT, beliefs about the health consequences of using NRT, and the safety and efficacy of NRT, using semi-structured telephone interviews. Results: Twenty-four themes were identified; these themes were clustered into three main issues of cross-cutting themes: attitudes towards smoking and motivation to quit; smoking reduction and quit attempts; and beliefs, use and concerns about NRT. Those with a history of NRT use were more motivated and engaged with the quitting process than non-users. However, irrespective of smoking status and past NRT use, all participants showed misperceptions about NRT, such as the health consequences associated with NRT use. Conclusions: NRT users are more motivated to quit smoking than non-users and are more likely to employ techniques to assist their cessation attempts. The majority of smokers have misperceptions regarding the safety and efficacy of NRT which may act as a barrier to its usage.
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