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Smoking: can we really make a difference?
  1. G Sutherland
  1. Correspondence to:
    Ms Gay Sutherland, Tobacco Research Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, 4 Windsor Walk, London SE5 8AF, UK;


The enormous health benefits of stopping smoking are now well established. Doctors have a vital role in motivating smokers and initiating quit attempts. The mainstay of National Health Service smoking cessation strategy should be the routine provision of brief opportunistic intervention in primary care, backed up by referral to a specialist smoking cessation service. There is an urgent need to increase substantially the numbers of smokers referred by general practitioners, other members of the primary care team, and those working in acute hospital trusts, to specialist smoking cessation services and for better channels of communication between the various agencies. Use of pharmacotherapy (nicotine replacement therapy or bupropion) in combination with behavioural support achieves higher cessation rates than either component alone and is the most effective way of helping smokers to stop. Smokers who quit often relapse and hence will need repeated help.

  • smoking
  • smoking cessation
  • ischaemic heart disease
  • GP, general practitioner
  • NHS, National Health Service
  • NICE, National Institute for Clinical Excellence
  • NRT, nicotine replacement therapy

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