Released in May 2008: Updated Clinical Practice Guideline for Treating Tobacco Use

Co-funding an update of the national clinical guideline for treating tobacco use and dependence

The Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention at the University of Wisconsin served as the lead organization in a project to update the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) clinical practice guideline, Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence. A panel of 24 experts in the field of tobacco cessation conducted the update during 2006 and 2007.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality published the 2008 update to the U.S. Public Health Service clinical practice guideline, Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence in May 2008.

Key Findings:

  • There was considerable progress made in tobacco research during the period separating the 2008 update and the previous (2000) guideline, according to the guideline panel. The 2008 guideline reports that:
    • Tobacco dependence is increasingly recognized as a chronic disease that typically requires ongoing assessment and repeated intervention.
    • Clinicians have many more effective treatment strategies than were previously identified, including seven different first-line effective medications approved by the FDA for treating tobacco use and dependence.
    • There is stronger evidence that counseling is an effective tobacco cessation treatment strategy, when used alone or in combination with medications and other treatments.
    • There is evidence that counseling increases abstinence rates for pregnant smokers—and, for the first time, that counseling is an effective treatment for adolescents.
    • "Quitlines," which provide tobacco cessation counseling via telephone, are an effective intervention with broad reach.
    • There is renewed evidence that effective counseling and medication treatments are of benefit to a wide range of populations, including smokers in low-income and diverse racial/ethnic minority populations.
    • Health care policies, such as providing insurance coverage for tobacco cessation treatment, significantly affect the likelihood that smokers will receive effective treatment for tobacco dependence and successfully stop tobacco use. Several studies on which these recommendations were based were funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) programs Substance Abuse Policy Research and Addressing Tobacco in Managed Care.
    • There is a growing need for continued research to enhance not only the efficacy but also the reach, use and appeal of effective cessation treatments and services so they reach and benefit a broader population of those who want to quit. This recommendation reflects the findings and recommendations of the Consumer Demand Roundtable, co-funded by the American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Legacy Foundation, National Cancer Institute, National Institute on Drug Abuse and RWJF.
    • Specific interventions have been identified that motivate smokers not willing to quit to make a quit attempt.

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