Pharmacotherapy of smoking cessation

Arch Fam Med. 2000 Mar;9(3):270-81. doi: 10.1001/archfami.9.3.270.


Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable diseases in the United States. Smoking accounts for more than 400,000 deaths yearly and 30% of all cancer deaths. Primary care physicians have access to 70% of smokers, approximately 60% of whom are perceived to be in excellent health. Recent advances in the pharmacotherapy of nicotine addiction, including nicotine nasal spray, nicotine inhaler, bupropion hydrochloride, and over-the-counter transdermal nicotine patches, have increased the treatment options physicians can offer to smokers. Physicians, especially those in primary care specialties, should familiarize themselves with these products to improve efforts to help their patients stop smoking. This article reviews scientific data on the efficacy of approved medications, benefits, adverse effects, and appropriate use of these products. We also discuss nicotine addiction and treatment for special populations, including women, ethnic minorities, light smokers, and patients with cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / therapeutic use*
  • Bupropion / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage*
  • Nicotine / adverse effects
  • Nicotinic Agonists / administration & dosage*
  • Nicotinic Agonists / adverse effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / drug therapy
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Bupropion
  • Nicotine