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A new three year degree course, on “addictology”, has begun at Charles University in Prague. What makes it noteworthy is that it includes tobacco dependence.
In the second year of the course, 30 teaching hours are being devoted to the epidemiology of tobacco, including the history and scope of the tobacco pandemic, its health impacts, and tobacco use related to different medical fields.
Current treatment guidelines are presented, including short interventions by doctors, intensive intervention for specialists, and group and individual therapy, as well as the possibilities for treatment in the Czech Republic, where specialised centres are starting work. Information about the international tobacco control community is also given.
The course is a long overdue and serious attempt to study the problem. Its focus is on evidence-based information about effective treatment, the economic impact of tobacco addiction, and the treatment of tobacco dependence in other countries. The course will also inform students about the use of the highly addictive drug potential of nicotine by tobacco companies, based on examples drawn from tobacco industry documents. After lengthy discussions, the study of tobacco problems was incorporated into the Czech national drug prevention strategy by the government last year.