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Editorial |

How Clinicians Can Help Smokers to Quit

Steven A. Schroeder, MD
JAMA. 2012;308(15):1586-1587. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.13858.
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Progress against smoking has rightly been called one of the great public health triumphs of the past century,1 yet tobacco use continues to kill and cause disease for far too many people.2 Although the prevalence of smoking in the United States declined in 2010 to a modern low of 19.3%, 43 million smokers continue to expose themselves and others to the deadly ingredients contained in tobacco smoke.3 In this issue of JAMA, Rigotti4 provides an elegant and comprehensive update of strategies that clinicians can use to help smokers who want to quit but have not succeeded. Key to effective smoking cessation strategies is the use of pharmacotherapy, for which there is a strong evidence base.5 However, it is important to highlight 4 caveats about the evidence.

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Figure. Smoking Prevalence and Average Number of Cigarettes Smoked per Day per Current US Smoker, 1965-2010
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Data based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.3,911

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