On May 7, 2008, the US Public Health Service (PHS) released the Clinical Practice Guideline Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update.1 This guideline describes how clinicians and health care systems can significantly reduce tobacco use prevalence by delivering evidence-based treatments to their patients who smoke.
The story of tobacco control efforts over the last half-century is one of remarkable progress and promise. In 1965, current smokers outnumbered former smokers 3 to 1. During the past 40 years, the rate of quitting has so outstripped the rate of initiation that, today, there are more former smokers than current smokers.2 Since tobacco use rates peaked in the 1960s, smoking prevalence among adults has decreased by half, to about 20% today.2 Moreover, 40 years ago smoking was viewed as a habit rather than as a chronic disease, and smokers had no access to scientifically validated treatments.
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