Cytisine: Brits 'twice as likely to quit' smoking with new pill available on NHS, here's how to get it

There is hope this pill will reduce the 6.4 million people who smoke in the UK.

Quit smoking with new pill Cytisine on NHS
© Towfiqu barbhuiya / UNSPLASH
Quit smoking with new pill Cytisine on NHS

Most people have tried smoking in their lives and for many this leads to a long-term habit that’s very hard to kick. Despite the fact that the health risks are very well documented - with cigarettes earning uncompromising nicknames such as ‘cancer sticks’ - it remains very popular across the globe. Worldwide, an estimated 1.3 billion people smoke while the UK’s smoking population falls around 6.4 million. To give some perspective, this is larger than the population of Scotland.

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Those who have tried to quit know how tough it can be to really leave the habit behind for good. However, a new pill is soon to come into circulation that ‘doubles your chances of quitting’, according to research. Here’s everything you need to know about Cytisine.

Cytisine ‘doubles your chances of quitting’

According to a new study, this plant-based drug could significantly boost your chances of quitting for good. The research, carried out in Argentina and published in the journal Addiction, showed the efficacity of these non-nicotine aids. 6000 smokers took part in the study, and the results showed that Cytisine was twice as effective as a placebo.

The research went further, and found that Cytisine was also more effective than nicotine replacement therapy like patches or vapes. Study author and toxicologist Professor Omar de Santi, from the Posadas National Hospital in Argentina, pointed out that ‘worldwide, smoking is considered the main cause of preventable death. Cytisine can potentially be one of the big answers to that problem’:

Our study adds to the evidence that cytisine is an effective and inexpensive stop-smoking aid.

While the medicine does produce some gastrointestinal symptoms as side effects, these are considered as ‘mild and transient’ - and above all else, a much better option than the dangerous conditions such as heart disease or stroke that can be brought on by smoking.

When Cytisine will become available

This drug has been around for years, but is only now becoming available on the NHS. The drug is set to be supplied as a prescription medication from 22 January. It works by mimicking the effect of nicotine in the brain which stops cravings and dulls the feeling of taking a drag of a cigarette.

Local councils will start pushing the meds on prescription from April 2024. A 25-day course of 100 Cytisine pills for one person will cost £115, but patients will only have to fork out the prescription charge of £9.65.

However, smokers are being urged not to wait for the drug to become available to them as quitting using patches or gum is still just as achievable and there is a concern addicts will lean too heavily on the promise of this wonder pill as a sure fix.

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Sources used:

The Sun: KICK THE HABIT Anti-smoking drug cytisine ‘that doubles your chances of quitting’ will be available on the NHS in just days

Express: Huge breakthrough as new pills make Britons 'twice as likely to quit' smoking

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