An algorithm for choosing among smoking cessation treatments

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2008 Jun;34(4):426-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2007.07.007. Epub 2007 Sep 14.


Currently, there are nine validated medications, four validated psychosocial strategies, and three validated ways to deliver psychosocial treatments for smoking cessation. This article presents an algorithm based on a literature review and the author's clinical experience. The algorithm integrates the recommendations of the major guidelines and meta-analyses and provides rationales for its treatment decisions. The algorithm suggests a brief assessment followed by use of one to two medications and counseling in most smokers. Because all treatments appear equally effective and have few adverse events, the algorithm suggests clinicians inform smokers of the pros and cons of the different treatments, and recommend use of one or more of each. If a smoker fails to quit, the algorithm suggests an assessment of why relapse occurred and then a more intense treatment, a new treatment, or both.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Algorithms*
  • Humans
  • Psychology
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Prevention*