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May 23, 1990

Methods of Smoking Cessation—Finally, Some Answers

JAMA. 1990;263(20):2795-2796. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440200099032

Forty million living Americans have quit smoking.1 While not as catchy, perhaps, as "Fifty million Frenchmen can't be wrong" or "Millions have read the book, now see the movie," the principle is the same—this is a massive number of people focused on one activity.

Unfortunately, until now we have known very little, or have had to surmise, how so many smokers have achieved their goal of quitting. The article by Fiore et al2 in this issue of The Journal, however, finally provides some answers and, even more important, guidance on this issue.

Among the important findings presented by Fiore et al are the following:

  • More than 90% of successful quitters do so on their own, without participation in an organized cessation program.

  • Quit rates (defined as smoking abstinence for ≥1 year) are twice as high for those who quit on their own compared with those who participate in