Altering risk in patients who smoke

Respir Care Clin N Am. 2003 Jun;9(2):259-68, viii-ix. doi: 10.1016/s1078-5337(02)00090-4.


Because of the inherent difficulty of quitting smoking and the enormous health and societal burden of smoking, a multitude of interventions have been developed and tested for their efficacy in sustaining abstinence in smokers. Although most smokers' attempts to quit on their own end in failure, with 12-month abstinence rates as low as 5.7%, several psychosocial and pharmacological interventions have been noted for substantially increasing, even doubling or tripling abstinence rates. Given the substantial costs of treating illnesses caused by smoking, even a 1% increase in abstinence rates is notable for its public health benefit. Moreover, research has indicated that it may take the majority of smokers several attempts at quitting before total continuous abstinence is achieved. Thus any quit attempt should be construed as a step forward in the direction of sustained abstinence. The relative ease with which clinician-initiated effective treatments can be implemented. and evidence that many smokers would like to stop smoking and look to health-care practitioners for guidance and motivation, suggest that pulmonary medicine specialists can have a substantial impact on morbidity and mortality associated with smoking.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy
  • Counseling
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Physician's Role*
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking Prevention*