Awareness of nicotine replacement therapy among South African smokers and their interest in using it for smoking cessation when provided for free
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This study assessed knowledge of South African smokers about nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and their
interest in using it for smoking cessation if it is provided free. The 2007 South African Social Attitudes Survey was analyzed for 689 smokers aged ??? 16 years. Prevalence of receipt of tobacco cessation counseling from a health care professional as well as self-reported knowledge about NRT was calculated. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess factors associated with interest in using NRT if provided for free. About 26.1% of current smokers reported ever receiving tobacco cessation counselling from a health care professional.
Although 67.7% of smokers were aware of NRT, only 3.9% had ever used NRT. However, 77.6% of those aware of NRT were interested in using it for smoking cessation if offered for free. After adjusting for potential confounders, smokers' interest in using NRT was inversely associated with interest in harm-reduction switching to snuff (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.34; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.14???0.80) and also reduced with each unit increase in lifetime duration of smoking (AOR = 0.93; 95% CI = 0.88???0.99). Interest in NRT use was higher among polytobacco users compared with exclusive cigarette smokers (AOR = 10.21; 95% CI = 1.08???96.15) and generally increased with increasing age of smoker. About two-thirds of smokers knew about NRT, and the majority were interested in using NRT for smoking cessation if provided free. These findings underscore the need to increase awareness of smokers about NRT through mass-media campaigns as well as include tobacco dependence treatment as part of the national health insurance programs of low- and middle-income countries.