The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research Smoking Cessation Clinical Practice Guideline

JAMA. 1996 Apr 24;275(16):1270-80.


Objective: To summarize the Smoking Cessation Clinical Practice Guideline that provides recommendations for 3 groups of professionals: primary care clinicians, smoking cessation specialists, and health care administrators, insurers, and purchasers.

Participants: An independent panel of scientists, clinicians, consumers, and methodologists selected by the US Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.

Evidence: English-language, peer-reviewed literature published between 1975 and 1994 that addresses the assessment and treatment of tobacco dependence, nicotine addiction, and clinical practice.

Consensus process: Four panel meetings were held over 2 years to evaluate meta-analytic and other results, to synthesize the results, and to develop recommendations. The Guideline was repeatedly reviewed and revised.

Conclusions: The panel recommendations address 3 audiences. Major recommendations for primary care clinicians are to use officewide systems to identify smokers, treat every smoker with a cessation or motivational intervention, offer nicotine replacement except in special circumstances, and schedule follow-up contact to occur after cessation. Major recommendations to smoking cessation specialists are to use multiple individual or group counseling sessions lasting at least 20 minutes each with sessions spanning multiple weeks, offer nicotine replacement, and provide problem-solving and social support counseling. Major recommendations for health care administrators, insurers, and purchasers are that tobacco-user identification systems be used in all clinics and that smoking cessation treatment be supported through staff education and training, dedicated staff, changes in hospital policies, and the provision of reimbursement for tobacco-dependence treatment.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Guideline
  • Practice Guideline
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Counseling
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards
  • Humans
  • Nicotine / therapeutic use
  • Primary Health Care / standards
  • Smoking Cessation* / methods
  • Social Support
  • United States
  • United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality


  • Nicotine