K. Michael Cummings on Free Nicotine Medication Giveaway Programs

Fast Moving Front Commentary, September 2010

K. Michael Cummings

Article: Reach, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of free nicotine medication giveaway programs

Authors: Cummings, KM;Fix, B;Celestino, P;Carlin-Menter, S;O'Connor, R;Hyland, A
Journal: J PUBLIC HEALTH MANAG PRACT, 12 (1): 37-43 JAN-FEB 2006
Addresses: Roswell Pk Canc Inst, Dept Hlth Behav, Div Canc Prevent & Populat Sci, Elm & Carlton St, Buffalo, NY 14263 USA.
Roswell Pk Canc Inst, Dept Hlth Behav, Div Canc Prevent & Populat Sci, Buffalo, NY 14263 USA.
Roswell Pk Canc Inst, New York State Smokers Quitline, Buffalo, NY 14263 USA.

K. Michael Cummings talks with ScienceWatch.com and answers a few questions about this month's Fast Moving Fronts paper in the field of Social Sciences, general.

SW: Why do you think your paper is highly cited?

Cigarette smoking is a major health problem and our study summarizes the results of several studies that illustrate a very practical way to reach and engage smokers in quitting smoking.

SW: Does it describe a new discovery, methodology, or synthesis of knowledge?

The findings in the study are not novel, but we combined results of several studies to demonstrate our observation that providing free samples of nicotine medication was cost-effective in motivating quit attempts and getting smokers to contact a quitline.

SW: Would you summarize the significance of your paper in layman’s terms?

"The more people who quit smoking the fewer people who die from smoking caused disease. "

Offering free samples of nicotine patches encourages many smokers to take action to call a stop smoking helpline, and the provision of free nicotine patches along with telephone counseling increases quit success over counseling alone.

SW: How did you become involved in this research, and how would you describe the particular challenges, setbacks, and successes that you've encountered along the way?

In my role directing the operations of the New York State Smokers' Quitline I was interested in finding ways to get smokers to call our service and in identifying the most cost-effective way to deliver support to smokers who were interested in stopping smoking.

SW: Where do you see your research leading in the future?

Does providing access to free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) via the internet increase the reach and impact of a stop smoking helpline? How much NRT should be given to smokers who call a telephone helpline to optimize quit rates efficiently? Are there certain types of smokers who benefit more from NRT compared to others? How would the promotion of other types of stop smoking medications impact calls to a helpline? How much benefit is gained by providing proactive counseling support to callers who contact a quitline seeking the free NRT or other stop smoking medications?

SW: Do you foresee any social or political implications for your research?

The more people who quit smoking the fewer people who die from smoking-caused disease.

K. Michael Cummings, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Chair, Department of Health Behavior
Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Buffalo, NY, USA




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