provides general information regarding cytisine

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Smokefree May is the perfect time to kick the
habit and the National Institute for Health Innovation
(NIHI) invites any smoker who wants to make a healthy change
to sign up for a study that will test cytisine, a natural
product which has been shown to help smokers

The two-year trial, known as Cess@tion, is
funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand and
seeks 800 participants. Alongside the World
Smokefree May
theme ‘We’re backing you’, the trial
is an excellent opportunity to be inspired by the campaign
message: ‘Taituara, taiwhare, taieke: With backing, even
the tallest of ocean waves can be

Alongside cytisine, the trial will also
test the effectiveness of nicotine e-cigarettes in smoking
cessation, building on NIHI’s e-cigarette research, says
Associate Professor Natalie Walker, who leads the Tobacco
and Addiction research group at NIHI. Trial participants
will be randomly given cytisine only, nicotine e-cigarettes
only, or both.

Cytisine is sourced from and marketed
in Eastern Europe but is not yet approved for use in
Aotearoa New Zealand. It sits in the same class as Champix,
the most effective quit-smoking medicine available.
International research indicates it is just as effective but
much lower cost and has fewer side effects. As a natural
compound, cytisine is found in many plants around the world,
including the New Zealand kōwhai tree, giving the product a
cultural link to Aotearoa New Zealand. It works by taking
the edge off cravings and makes cigarettes less enjoyable,
should someone have a puff.

“Just like any active
drug, cytisine must go through a regulatory approval
process. The more research that is done, especially locally,
the more likely it is to be approved for use in New
Zealand,” says Chris Bullen, director of NIHI.

with our other studies with cytisine that have showed it is
safe, acceptable and effective at helping many smokers quit,
we have obtained special approval from Medsafe to use
cytisine for this latest study.”

Bullen says the
trial will provide valuable insights, enhance the knowledge
base, and hopefully progress the regulatory process for
cytisine to be approved as a smoking cessation medication in
New Zealand and other countries around the

“The evidence to date suggests cytisine is an
effective and acceptable tool for people to use to quit
smoking, while other medicines have been less effective,”
he says.

“Joining our study not only helps the
individual concerned but contributes new knowledge to
support people who smoke in future,” says Walker.

you, or someone you know, are interested in participating in
the trial, visit the Cess@tion
or facebook
to register or find out

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