60-Second Mind

See Your Doc to Stop Smoking

Two researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health published a review in the November 20th issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, of several hundred smoking studies. They conclude that success in quitting depends on a combo of meds and non-pharmacotherapy, but that a key component is the role of the physician. Just advising a patient to quit, actually doubles their quit rates. And long term follow-up, at least one year, is critical the researchers say.

Here’s a sober stat: smoking is responsible for one in ten deaths worldwide. It’s doubtful any of us need reminding of how dangerous it is. But why are you or your loved ones still smoking? And how can we stop?

Well a review paper of more than 300 studies, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that the best treatment is a long-term combo of medication and psychological therapy.

The top meds which can double or triple the chances of quitting are: nicotine replacement therapy (patch, gum, lozenge, or inhaler), bupropion (an antidepressant), and a new drug, varenicline.

But the researchers note that out of all the successful attempts to quit, the majority were done without meds.

They stress environmental influences, like physician advice. Advising patients to quit, even just once, apparently doubles quit rates.

The researchers say tobacco dependence should be treated not as an acute disease, but rather as a chronic disease – where therapy should be long-term management with a doctor, ultimately enforcing follow-up for at least one year, to bring about that sweet spot of permanent abstinence.

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