Blood test may help people quit smoking
Taking a blood test may help smokers choose the best strategy for quitting and improve their chances of success, according to a new study at the University of Pennsylvania.
Previous research has suggested that the varying rates at which people break down nicotine may affect chances of quitting smoking. In the new study, scientists first focused on the link between nicotine breakdown rate and the effectiveness of nicotine patches and pills. They determined the nicotine breakdown rate of 1,240 people who were trying to quit smoking. Next, the volunteers were given either a nicotine patch, a non-nicotine based drug or a placebo pill.
Researchers found that the participants who broke down nicotine at a normal rate had better success rates using the pill than they did when using the patch. The volunteers who broke down nicotine at a relatively slow rate were found to have similar success rates with both the patch and the pill.
The implication for the study is that individuals' rates at which their bodies can break down nicotine may help determine which method for quitting would be most effective, researchers said. The study's findings, published in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine, suggest that a blood test to check for nicotine breakdown speed may help smokers choose which quitting method to use. This type of blood test is currently used for research purposes, but researchers say the test could be developed for wider use.