Quitting Smoking Long Term: Treatment Can Double the Likelihood

Updating the AHCPR Clinical Practice Guideline on Smoking Cessation

From August 1998 to September 2000, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School updated Clinical Practice Guideline on Smoking Cessation (#18), a publication of the federal Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR).

CTRI, coordinator of the project and located at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School, reconvened the original Guideline's Smoking Cessation Panel to review and produce the update.

Key Results and Findings

In June 2000, the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) published the updated, 179-page guide, Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence, the only current evidence-based set of treatment guidelines available.

Findings include:

  • Effective treatments for tobacco dependence exist that can double or triple the likelihood of long-term cessation.
  • Many cessation treatments are appropriate for primary care settings.
  • A strong dose-response relationship exists between the intensity of tobacco treatment counseling and its effectiveness.
  • Treatments involving person-to-person contact (via individual, group, or telephone counseling) are consistently effective and their effectiveness increases with treatment intensity (e.g., minutes of contact).
  • Five first-line pharmacotherapies for tobacco dependence — nicotine gum, nicotine inhaler, nicotine nasal spray, nicotine patch, and sustained-release bupropin hydrocloride — are effective.

USPHS printed 55,000 copies of the book and has distributed 44,000 copies to date.

Surgeon General David Satcher announced the updated book's publication at a press conference, and several journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) featured articles about it.

A panel discussed its findings at the World Conference on Tobacco OR Health in August 2000; the 4500 attendees received a copy of the book. The book and its affiliated products are available online in English and Spanish on the Web sites of the Surgeon General, and the AHRQ.

The grantee organization is developing a project to further disseminate the publication to increase its visibility and utilization.


RWJF provided partial funding for the project with a grant of $102,016. RWJF was a part of a consortium whose members supported the update: Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ, formerly AHCPR); The Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention (CTRI); the National Cancer Institute (NCI); the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI); the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).