Smoking is a risk factor for the four leading causes of death in the United States, yet 48 million Americans - 24% of the U.S. adult population - continue to smoke. Approximately 70% of people who smoke visit a physician each year, yet only half report ever being advised to quit smoking by their physician. Smoking cessation is difficult due to nicotine addiction and withdrawal symptoms. Expert groups such as the National Cancer Institute and the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research offer protocols for smoking cessation that primary care physicians can use in their office practice. Recent developments in the pharmacotherapy of smoking cessation has led the U.S. Public Health Service to update the practice guidelines for treating tobacco use and dependence. Pharmacotherapy, which includes nicotine replacement therapy, offers assistance to patients who want to stop smoking. However, the cost of pharmacotherapy may be a barrier for some. Other nonpharmacologic therapies, such as counseling, are also effective.
ASJC Scopus subject areas