In the past 20 years, public health initiatives on smoking cessation have increased substantially. Randomized trials indicate that pharmaceutical cessation aids can increase success by 50% among heavier smokers who seek help, and use of these aids has increased markedly. Quitlines provide a portal through which smokers can seek assistance to quit and are promoted by tobacco control programs. Randomized trials have demonstrated that telephone coaching following a quitline call can also increase quitting, and a combination of quitlines, pharmaceutical aids and physician monitoring can help heavier smokers to quit.

While quit attempts have increased, widespread dissemination of these aids has not improved population success rates. Pharmaceutical marketing strategies may have reduced expectations of the difficulty of quitting, reducing success per attempt. Some policies actively discourage unassisted smoking cessation despite the documented high success rates of this approach. There is an urgent need to revisit public policy on smoking cessation.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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