Techniques for Smoking Cessation: What Really Works?

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Abstract of Journal Article -- February 2001  

Symposium on Cancer: What Primary Care Physicians Need to Know  

By Terry A. Rustin, MD  

Cigarettes (and tobacco) represent the most significant lifestyle risk for cancer, accounting for more than 400,000 deaths in the United States each year. The cancer risk in smokers is proportional to the number of cigarettes smoked in the patient's lifetime; therefore, smoking cessation is always in the best interest of a smoker's health.

Physicians can play a crucial role in the success of their patients' smoking cessation programs. Experimental studies, observational studies, and the experience of seasoned physicians have identified a number of effective strategies that any physician can use. This article presents several brief counseling approaches and a summary of pharmacologic treatments that can be incorporated into office and hospital practice.

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