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HHS releases new Public Health Service guideline on smoking cessation

The Public Health Service guideline, Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: A Clinical Practice Guideline, was released by the Department of Health and Human Services on June 27, 2000. It contains evidence-based information about first-line pharmacologic therapies (bupropion SR, as well as nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, and nasal sprays) and second-line therapies (clonidine and nortriptyline) to treat tobacco dependence. It also highlights new evidence about how telephone counseling can help patients quit using tobacco.

The guideline is aimed at practicing clinicians. Studies have shown that more than 25 percent of U.S. adults smoke, and that 70 percent of them would like to quit. Of those smokers who try to quit, those who have the support of their physician or other health care provider are the most successful. Data show that only half of the smokers who see a doctor have ever been urged to quit, even though smoking is the single greatest preventable cause of illness and premature death in the United States.

The tobacco cessation guideline was developed by a consortium convened by the U.S. Public Health Service that includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the University of Wisconsin Medical School's Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention. It builds on a smoking cessation guideline first issued by the government in 1996. In addition, more than 100 organizations are supporting this effort.

An article by the Tobacco Use and Dependence Clinical Practice Guideline Panel, chaired by Michael Fiore, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Wisconsin Medical School, summarizing the guideline appears in the June 28, 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association 283(24), pp. 3244-3254.

Select Tobacco Cessation Guideline to access guideline documents, including the full guideline, Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: A Clinical Practice Guideline, and the consumer guide, You Can Quit Smoking, or call 1-800-358-9295 to order free print copies.

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