Research On Cessation Of Tobacco

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Although the scientific study of smoking treatments dates from the mid-1900s, "nonscientific" and "scientific" treatments often overlap. Until the 1980s, there were still many observers who doubted that tobacco use was based on an addic tion to or dependence on nicotine. In the 1950s and 1960s, many experts believed that smoking was ''just a bad habit.'' Experts at that time failed to appreciate that tobacco use was a form of drug use; instead, they saw smoking as the kind of habit that could be broken by taking certain behavioral steps. This attitude was the origin of the so-called behavioral techniques for stopping smoking.

In the early part of the twentieth century, self-help movements were very popular and were directed against alcohol and other drug problems. Such efforts at behavioral changes have a long history in society. Perhaps because they are so commonplace, people tend not to seek professional help for dealing with minor behavioral problems. As a result, it should not be surprising that over the years much of the "treatment" for cigarette smoking has been self-administered. However, researchers find that self-help treatments have not generally been proven effective for most people. In one study of 5,000 smokers, only 4.3 percent of individuals who had quit on their own remained abstinent for one year after they attempted to quit. Self-help treatments, combined with such intensive treatment as behavioral counseling, nicotine replacement, or the combination of the two, is likely to be more effective.

No single treatment stands out as being the single best way for all smokers. In general, however, researchers have found that nicotine replacement therapy combined with behavioral counseling has shown the best results in the treatment of nicotine addiction.

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