Aims To determine the effect of offering smokers who want to quit easy access to nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), a period of familiarization and choice of product on smoking abstinence at 6 months.
Design Single-blind, randomized controlled trial.
Setting New Zealand.
Participants A total of 1410 adult smokers who called the national Quitline for quitting support were randomized to usual Quitline care or a box containing different NRT products (patch, gum, inhaler, sublingual tablet, oral pouch) to try for a week prior to quitting, and then to choose one or two of these products for 8 weeks' use.
Measurements The primary outcome was 7-day point prevalence smoking abstinence 6 months after quit day. Secondary outcomes included continuous abstinence, cigarette consumption, withdrawal, NRT choice and serious adverse events at 1 and 3 weeks and 3 and 6 months.
Findings No differences in 6-month quit rates (7-day point prevalence or continuous abstinence) were observed between the groups. However, smokers allocated to the intervention group were more likely to have quit smoking at 3 months [self-reported point prevalence, relative risk (RR) = 1.17, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02, 1.35, P = 0.03], had a longer time to relapse (median 70 days versus 28 days, P < 0.01) and used significantly more NRT. The selection box concept was highly acceptable to users, with the patch and inhaler combination the most popular choice (34%).
Conclusions In terms of smoking abstinence at 6 months, offering smokers who want to quit free access to a wide range of nicotine replacement therapy, including a 1-week period of familiarization and choice of up to two products, appears no different to offering reduced cost and choice of nicotine replacement therapy, with no familiarization period.