Michael B. Steinberg, MD, MPH; Amy C. Schmelzer, BA; Donna L. Richardson, LCSW, LCADC; Jonathan Foulds, PhD
Grant Support: From the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services through the Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Drs. Steinberg and Foulds), Cancer Institute of New Jersey (Drs. Steinberg and Foulds), and Pfizer (Dr. Steinberg).
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest:Consultancies: M.B. Steinberg, J. Foulds (Pfizer, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Celtic Pharma). Honoraria: M.B. Steinberg, J. Foulds (Pfizer Speakers' Bureau). Expert testimony: J. Foulds (provided expert witness testimony against tobacco companies). Grants received: M.B. Steinberg (Pfizer).
Requests for Single Reprints: Michael B. Steinberg, MD, MPH, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Public Health, Tobacco Dependence Program, 317 George Street, Room 210, New Brunswick, NJ 08901; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current Author Addresses: Drs. Steinberg and Foulds, Ms. Schmelzer, and Ms. Richardson: University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Public Health, 317 George Street, Room 210, New Brunswick, NJ 08901.
Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, yet it is still regarded by many as merely a bad habit. Most smokers want to quit but find it difficult. Behavioral counseling and pharmacotherapies are available, safe, and effective in the treatment of tobacco dependence. Nicotine replacement therapy effectively delivers nicotine in safer doses without exposure to the toxins and chemicals in cigarette smoke. The optimal duration of tobacco dependence treatment is unknown, and some smokers may require extended courses. For smokers using long-term cessation medications, health care providers should encourage treatment and insurance carriers should cover it. Both tobacco dependence and such conditions as diabetes are similar in their potential to exacerbate other diseases, their behavioral components of treatment, and their effectiveness of medications. Despite these similarities, treatments for diabetes are well covered by insurance, whereas tobacco dependence treatments are often limited. Tobacco dependence should share the status of other chronic illnesses, with effective treatments given as long as is necessary to achieve successful clinical outcomes.
Steinberg MB, Schmelzer AC, Richardson DL, Foulds J. The Case for Treating Tobacco Dependence as a Chronic Disease. Ann Intern Med. ;148:554–556. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-148-7-200804010-00012
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2008;148(7):554-556.
Cardiology, Coronary Risk Factors, Smoking, Tobacco, Alcohol, and Other Substance Abuse.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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