ARKANSAS, USA — A local research center is at the forefront of an effort to help people quit smoking — and it's for a very good reason.
The effort is especially being felt in the Natural State, where an astonishing portion of the state's population already smokes cigarettes according to health officials.
"Here in Arkansas particularly, 23% of the population smokes cigarettes. That works out to about 700,000 Arkansans [that] smoke cigarettes," said Dr. Karl Sitz, the leader of the local team conducting the medical study.
This effort being brought upon by the Little Rock Asthma and Allergy Clinical Research Center is part of the next phase of a medical trial for cytisinicline — a medication that's already showing promising results in helping people curb their cigarette usage.
Sitz said cytisinicline has fewer side effects than current medication and targets a part of the brain that's more sensitive to addiction.
"It decreases the desire for smoking and blocks the pleasurable effect if you do take a smoke, so it gives it gives you a little bit of a favorable effect and blocks the adverse effects," he said.
The trial is intended to test the "safety and efficacy of cytisinicline" as cigarette sales have boosted for the first time in 20 years.
The Little Rock Asthma and Allergy Clinical Research Center is conducting a third round of testing for the medication. As part of this trial, they're looking for adults who smoke at least half a pack a day and want to quit.
Sitz said there's even compensation for people that are participating in the trial. Anyone that wishes to join can text "smoking" to 501-376-1111 and you'll receive information on whether or not you're eligible.
Those interested can also contact the Little Rock Allergy and Asthma Clinical Research Center at 501-224-1156 or message them online here.