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February 20, 2008

Treatment Regulation in Promoting Tobacco Control

JAMA. 2008;299(7):763-764. doi:10.1001/jama.299.7.763-a

To the Editor: The Commentary on global regulatory strategies for tobacco control by Mr Gostin1 included most of the accepted regulatory options to promote tobacco control but failed to include one of the most important: treatment regulation.

Several of the actions suggested in the Commentary have been shown to motivate smokers to attempt to quit, but there is little evidence that these actions help smokers stop once they have tried to quit. If smokers only needed to be motivated, then treatment would not be necessary. However, if smokers are dependent on nicotine, then ignoring treatment does not make sense (imagine a global program to treat alcoholism that did not include a treatment component).