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January 11, 1993

Cigarette Smoking, Nicotine Addiction, and Its Pharmacologic Treatment

Author Affiliations

From the Division of General Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical School at Houston (Dr Lee) and Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pa (Dr D'Alonzo). Dr Lee is now in private practice, Escondido, Calif.

Arch Intern Med. 1993;153(1):34-48. doi:10.1001/archinte.1993.00410010062005

Cigarette smoking is the most prevalent modifiable risk factor for increased morbidity and mortality in the United States and perhaps the world. Not only does the smoker incur medical risks attributable to smoking, passive smokers and society also bear ill effects and increased economic costs attributable to the smoker's habit. These risks of morbidity and mortality have been shown to be related to the addictive component of tobacco smoke, so that pharmacologic therapies have been studied in an attempt to modify the addiction, aid in smoking cessation, and prevent relapse. Presently, nicotine polacrilex and transdermal nicotine show some efficacy. Clonidine's efficacy has been equivocal. In addition, the combination of nicotine substitution and clonidine may be useful but will need formal investigation. Nicotine agonists and antagonists have not proven helpful. Antidepressants are being studied at this time. Nonpharmacologic modalities are briefly mentioned but play a major role in helping the smoker quit.

(Arch Intern Med. 1993;153:34-48)