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Vili Nosa Kotalo Leau Natalie Walker



Introduction: Pacific people in New Zealand have one of the highest rates of smoking.  Cytisine is a plant-based alkaloid that has proven efficacy, effectiveness and safety compared to a placebo and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for smoking cessation.  Cytisine, like varenicline, is a partial agonist of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, and blocks the rewarding effects of nicotine. Cytisine is naturally found in some plants in the Pacific region, and so may appeal to Pacific smokers wanting to quit. This paper investigates the acceptability of cytisine as a smoking cessation product for Pacific smokers in New Zealand, using a qualitative study design.

Methods: In December 2015, advertisements and snowball sampling was used to recruit four Pacific smokers and three Pacific smoking cessation specialists in Auckland, New Zealand. Semi-structured interviews where undertaken, whereby participants were asked about motivations to quit and their views on smoking cessation products, including cytisine (which is currently unavailable in New Zealand). Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim, with thematic analysis conducted manually.

Findings: Pacific smokers reported wanting to quit for loved ones and family, but did not find currently available smoking cessation products effective. Almost all participants had not previously heard of cytisine, but many of the Pacific smokers were keen to try it. Participants identified with cytisine on a cultural basis (given its natural status), but noted that their use would be determined by the efficacy of the medicine, its cost, side-effects, and accessibility. They were particularly interested in cytisine being made available in liquid form, which could be added to a “smoothie” or drunk as a “traditional tea”.  Participants thought cytisine should be promoted in a culturally-appropriate way, with packaging and advertising designed to appeal to Pacific smokers.

Conclusions: Cytisine is more acceptable to Pacific smokers than other smoking cessation products, because of their cultural practices of traditional medicine and the natural product status of cytisine.

Article Details

Short Report

How to Cite

Cytisine as an alternative smoking cessation product for Pacific smokers in New Zealand. (2018). Pacific Health Dialog, 21(2), 89-95.