Cigarette smoking, nicotine addiction, and its pharmacologic treatment

Arch Intern Med. 1993 Jan 11;153(1):34-48.


Cigarette smoking is the most prevalent modifiable risk factor for increased morbidity and mortality in the United States and perhaps the world. Not only does the smoker incur medical risks attributable to smoking, passive smokers and society also bear ill effects and increased economic costs attributable to the smoker's habit. These risks of morbidity and mortality have been shown to be related to the addictive component of tobacco smoke, so that pharmacologic therapies have been studied in an attempt to modify the addiction, aid in smoking cessation, and prevent relapse. Presently, nicotine polacrilex and transdermal nicotine show some efficacy. Clonidine's efficacy has been equivocal. In addition, the combination of nicotine substitution and clonidine may be useful but will need formal investigation. Nicotine agonists and antagonists have not proven helpful. Antidepressants are being studied at this time. Nonpharmacologic modalities are briefly mentioned but play a major role in helping the smoker quit.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chewing Gum
  • Clonidine / therapeutic use
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Humans
  • Nicotine* / administration & dosage
  • Nicotine* / analogs & derivatives
  • Polymethacrylic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Polyvinyls / administration & dosage
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / economics
  • Substance-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy
  • Tobacco Use Cessation Devices


  • Chewing Gum
  • Polymethacrylic Acids
  • Polyvinyls
  • Nicotine
  • Clonidine