Quit smoking tablet 'could treble chances of giving up'

A nicotine substitute pill could help thousands to quit smoking as research shows it more than trebles your chances of giving up for at least a year.

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Yet despite the fact that it has long been available in eastern Europe and costs just 12 pence, it may be another two or three years before Brits can be prescribed the tablet.

The active ingredient in Tabex is cytisine - which occurs naturally in laburnum seeds - and experts believe the pill to be as effective as stop smoking treatments already prescribed by the NHS.

In a trial of 740 patients, those who took Tabex were found to be 3.4 times more likely to succeed than those on a placebo pill.

Though the drug can legally be bought online, scientists fear customers unable to get it on the NHS may fall victim to imitations.

Professor Robert West, who led the research at the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, told the Daily Mail: "It's been available in central and eastern Europe for more than 40 years, we have safety data on millions of people, and we know it's effective, but it's not licensed in Britain.

"People can make their own choices. A licence is not a licence to buy, it's a licence to market. There's nothing illegal about buying this drug online, but there's always the risk that you might not get what you expect."

Despite the increased success rate of participants taking Tabex, however, willpower is still key to quitting smoking - after taking the pills for 25 days only 8.4 per cent were able to stop for a year.

On the other hand, only 2.4 per cent of the placebo group managed the same feat... and anything that helps (safely!) must surely be embraced by the NHS.

What do you think - would you try Tabex pills without a prescription? Leave a comment below...