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Four beliefs that may impede progress in the treatment of smoking
  1. John R Hughes
  1. University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry, 38 Fletcher Place, Burlington, Vermont 05401-1419, USA;{at}


    The validity of four often-cited statements about smoking cessation is reviewed and their misinterpretation is discussed. “Most smokers are interested in quitting” is true; however, more important is the fact that smokers try to quit only once every 3.5 years. Thus motivating attempts to quit and removing barriers to treatment are important. “Most smokers quit on their own” is often interpreted to mean that smokers are not nicotine dependent; however, most dependent alcoholics and drug abusers who quit, do so on their own. This statement is also often interpreted to mean that most smokers do not need therapy, but the same was said about clinical depression in the early 1900s. “Quit rates with treatment are low”; however, most successful interventions for chronic disorders are the result of a series of treatments, not just one treatment. “Medication is effective only when accompanied by psychosocial therapy” is a tenet of treatment for traditional drug abuse; however, medications such as over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies double quit rates even in the absence of psychosocial therapy.

    • smoking cessation
    • tobacco use
    • treatment

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