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New Studies Highlight Smokers' Lack of Understanding About the Best Ways to Quit; Deceptive Tobacco Marketing Also Affects Quit Decisions.

MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa., Dec. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The December 9th supplemental issue of Nicotine & Tobacco Research provides disturbing information about smokers' lack of understanding of the benefits of medicinal nicotine (such as nicotine gum, patch, or lozenge), which has been shown to double a smoker's chance of quitting compared to cold turkey. The studies also demonstrate the alarming degree to which smokers have been confused by the marketing of "light" and "low tar" cigarettes and believe that these products are less dangerous than other cigarettes.

Misperceptions about medicinal nicotine, combined with misleading marketing of certain types of tobacco products, create an environment that may deter smokers from even attempting to quit. These new studies are a call to action that smokers need clear, understandable information about effective quit-smoking products, particularly medicinal nicotine.

One study(1) in the supplement found that a majority of smokers incorrectly believe that medicinal nicotine is addictive and that users of the nicotine patch are more likely than smokers to have a heart attack. Other data reported in the supplement(2) reflect that over half of smokers incorrectly believe medicinal nicotine causes cancer. In reality, medicinal nicotine use is much safer than smoking, even in people with active heart disease.(3) Over 100 clinical trials and extensive use over more than 15 years have proven the safety and efficacy of medicinal nicotine when used as directed.(4) In direct contrast, tobacco smoke contains at least 69 carcinogens, plus many other toxins, such as carbon monoxide, arsenic, and ammonia.

These misunderstandings about medicinal nicotine are compounded by smokers' lack of knowledge about the risks presented by tobacco products labeled "light" or "ultra-light." The supplement reports that many smokers of the leading brand of "light" cigarettes believe that low-tar and filtered cigarettes are less dangerous than full-flavor cigarettes.(5) In fact, people who smoke low-tar cigarettes are exposed to the same amount of dangerous toxins and do not reduce their risk of developing lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, and other smoking-caused diseases.(6)

GSK Consumer Healthcare provides smokers with a choice of medicinal nicotine products, ranging from four different flavors of Nicorette(R) nicotine gum (new Fresh Mint, original, mint, and orange) to two different types of nicotine patch (original and Clear(R) NicoDerm(R) CQ(R)), and the Commit(R) lozenge. These products have helped seven million people around the world quit smoking and, as a result, have significantly reduced their exposure to the risks of cancer and other smoking-related diseases.(7)

In addition to giving smokers an array of quitting options, users of GSK Consumer Healthcare's Nicorette, NicoDerm CQ, and Commit are offered free enrollment in Committed Quitters,(R) the only personalized behavioral support program that has been clinically proven to increase a smoker's chance of quitting successfully.(8)

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare is one of the world's largest over- the-counter healthcare products companies and ranks second globally in sales of oral care products. Its more than 30 well-known products include such medicine cabinet staples as Abreva(R), Aquafresh(R) toothpastes and toothbrushes, Goody's(R) Headache Powder, Nicorette, NicoDerm CQ, Commit, Sensodyne(R) and Tums.(R)

GlaxoSmithKline is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.

(1) Cummings, KM, Hyland A, Giovino GA, Hastrup J, Bauer J, Bansal MA. Are smokers adequately informed about the health risks of smoking and medicinal nicotine? Nicotine & Tobacco Research, December 2004; Vol 6.

(2) Bansal MA, Cummings KM, Hyland A, Giovino GA. Smokers' beliefs about nicotine and the safety/efficacy of nicotine medications. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, December 2004; Vol 6

(3) Kimmel, S. Risk of acute first myocardial infarction and use of nicotine patches in a general population. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. April 2001; Vol. 37, 5.

(4) GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, LP, data on file.

(5) Cummings KM, Hyland A, Bansal MA, Giovino GA. What do Marlboro Light smokers know about low tar cigarettes? Nicotine & Tobacco Research. December 2004, Vol 6.

(6) National Cancer Institute, "Risks Associated with Smoking Cigarettes with Low Tar Machine-Measured Yields of Tar and Nicotine," November 25, 2001.

(7) Shiffman S; Gitchell J; Pinney J; Burton SL; Kemper KE; Lara EA. Public health impact of over-the-counter nicotine medications. Tobacco Control 1997; 6:306-310.

(8) Strecher VJ, Shiffman S, West R. Randomized Controlled Trial of a Web- Based Computer-Tailored Smoking Cessation Program as a Supplement to Nicotine Patch Therapy, in press, 2004.

CONTACT: Malesia Dunn of GlaxoSmithKline, +1-412-200-3544; or Virginia Bader of Porter Novelli, +1-202-973-5812, for GlaxoSmithKline

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Date:Dec 13, 2004
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