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Varenicline combined with counseling may be effective for vaping cessation

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The inclusion of varenicline in a vaping cessation program for exclusive daily electronic cigarettes (EC) users intending to quit may lead to prolonged abstinence, according to a new study.

The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, which included 140 participants, focused on exclusive daily EC users who expressed a clear intention to quit vaping. The participants were randomly assigned to 2 groups: one receiving varenicline (1 mg, twice daily for 12 weeks) along with counseling, and the other receiving a placebo (administered twice daily for 12 weeks) also combined with counseling. The treatment phase lasted for 12 weeks, followed by a 12-week nontreatment phase for monitoring and follow-up.

The primary efficacy endpoint of the study was the biochemically validated continuous abstinence rate (CAR) from weeks 4 to 12. Secondary efficacy endpoints included CAR from weeks 4 to 24 and the 7-day point prevalence of vaping abstinence at weeks 12 and 24.

The results showed promising outcomes for the varenicline group. The CAR was significantly higher for those receiving varenicline compared to the placebo group at each interval: 40.0% versus 20.0% from weeks 4 to 12, and 34.3% versus 17.2% from weeks 4 to 24. Additionally, the 7-day point prevalence of vaping abstinence was consistently higher for the varenicline group throughout the study period. Serious adverse events were infrequent in both groups and unrelated to the treatment.

Caponnetto P, Campagna D, Ahluwalia JS, et al. Varenicline and counseling for vaping cessation: a double-blind, randomized, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial. BMC Med. 2023;21(1):220. doi: 10.1186/s12916-023-02919-2. PMID: 37403047; PMCID: PMC10321010.