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As I was telling John Pinney last night, I remembered when these conferences started some years ago : there were a few of us meeting in hallways and no one took this effort very seriously. If one were to look at this room as well as our nation as whole, one would be impressed by the effects that these kinds of gatherings have had.
This is the fourth conference devoted specifically to smoking cessation. The first was in 1989 at Harvard, the next at Johns Hopkins in 1990, and then in 1993, I stood at this very podium and introduced the third conference.
The growing size of these conferences speaks for itself, of course, and this one is substantially oversubscribed. As you can see, every seat in the house is filled. The crowded seating arrangements are a cross we will happily bear.
Sitting in this room and those who will address you here over the next two days are what I regard as the greatest living experts in this field of smoking cessation. They are extremely well balanced. There are researchers, treatment experts, government officials, and representatives from private industry, voluntary health agencies, and medical professional societies.
I want to thank you for coming and joining us for this important gathering, and I also want to introduce my colleague and co-convener, Dr Ovide Pomerleau. He is currently professor of psychology and psychiatry and the director of the Behavioral Medicine Program at the University of Michigan. He is a pioneer in the research on nicotine and its effects and founding president of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.