Quitline staff member Jordan smiling as he takes a call in our contact centreNicotine replacement therapy (patches, lozenges and gum - known as NRT) is an invaluable aid in helping people quit smoking. The New Zealand government offers low-cost NRT through the Quitline and the distribution of Quitcards, which can be exchanged at pharmacies for nicotine products. The following reports look at NRT in general, and its use through the Quitcard programme.

Quitcard Providers - Who are they?

This report analyses the number of Quitcard providers in District Health Boards for the period January 2005 to January 2008. The number of providers increased four-fold, from 267 in 2005 to 1183 in 2008. In 2008 almost half of the providers (47%) were general practices, followed by hospitals (9%) and Māori providers (9%). There were 20 providers per 10,000 NZ smokers in 2008, a significant increase from four providers per 10,000 smokers in 2005. The number of Māori providers more than doubled from 40 to 103.

Quitcards - Are they being used? 

The aim of this report is to give an indication of the volume of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) distributed through Quit Services, between July and December 2007. It also calculates the redemption and redeemer rate of quit cards issued to clients and presents possible reasons for why clients don't redeem their cards. The redemption and redeemer rates were 60% and 74%, both being lower than the three preceding 6-month periods. Findings from the Quitline Evaluation shed some light on why some clients did not redeem their quit cards; 1) they weren't ready (33%); 2) they already had NRT (28%); 3) they didn't get around to redeeming it/were too busy (28%) and 4) were using alternative methods or products to quit (23%).

NRT - Effectiveness and Safety

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a proven efficacious and safe aid for smoking cessation. However, initiation of NRT use remains low, and among those who do use the products insufficient dosages and early termination are common. Poor utilisation rates may result from commonly held misperceptions about the safety and efficacy of nicotine and NRT. This review found that the continued under-use of NRT appears to be sourced by negative expectations and safety concerns, which in turn result from knowledge deficits regarding nicotine and NRT products. Prior use of NRT and word-of-mouth appear to be the main formative source of smokers' expectations, and as such facilitating the correct usage of NRT products among those who do initiate use is crucial. Correct usage is more likely when smokers' knowledge about the role of nicotine and the safety and efficacy of NRT is more accurate.

NRT Online Report 2008

The first major survey of Quitline's online nicotine replacement therapy service, introduced in 2007. An in-depth analysis of the service looking at everything from who used it to how they found out about it and how it worked.