NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A lot of us picked up bad habits during the pandemic. A government study shows cigarette sales increased 20%.

If you’ve tried to kick that habit without success, Health Research of Hampton Roads is looking for you.

“So, with smoking sales up, more people smoking, more people stuck at home, you know, looking to find habits and hobbies and things to do, we’re seeing that it’s becoming more and more of a problem,” Clinical Director and Pharmacist Catherine Gular told WAVY.

The solution may be in the form of a pill taken three times a day.

“Cytisinicline is a plant-based compound that they are using to combat smoking,” Gular explained.

People in Europe have used the drug since the 1960s. It’s believed to reduce nicotine cravings. Gular said it’s tolerated better than some other smoking cessation drugs currently on the market.

“This one has a much better side effect profile than a lot of the current therapies that are approved right now,” Gular said.

Health Research of Hampton Roads is part of the nationwide study. They’re looking for about 35 people who smoke about a half a pack, or 10 cigarettes, a day.

“So, it’s important that we are looking for people that want to quit but also people who have tried to quit before and have not been successful. They’re looking to prove this as an effective smoking cessation therapy in people who have tried to quit smoking before,” Gular told WAVY.

Participants are closely monitored by the clinic’s medical staff and paid for their time and travel. The big pay off however, will come in the form of better health, researchers hope.

If you’re interested in participating in this trial, call or text STOP NOW to 757-591-8100.