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Tobacco Control & Treatment

Tobacco Control & Treatment

Tobacco use has been cited as the top cause of preventable death and disability in the United States. However, tobacco control and treatment are not commonly addressed by physicians in their daily practices, according to Frank T. Leone, MD, MS. “To help close the gap,” he says, “the Tobacco Action Committee of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) developed a research statement to summarize current understanding about the mechanisms available to address the tobacco use epidemic. The document also provides clinicians with the tools needed to address the issue in their own practices and communities.”   A Look to the Future The ATS statement, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, includes recommendations that look to the future and point to the types of questions that clinicians should be asking themselves, says Dr. Leone, who was lead author of the statement. The statement also challenges clinicians to consider the social constructs responsible for the propagation of tobacco dependence as an epidemic, according to Dr. Leone. “We wanted to highlight how dependence as an illness is moving through the population in manners that are very reminiscent of an epidemic,” he says. “We also thought it was important to provide an update on treatment strategies and the biological basis of dependence, why some medications work for achieving cessation and others don’t, how these medications are most effectively used, and some of the important questions that remain unanswered.” According to Dr. Leone, the most important of these unanswered questions is how to conceptually transition tobacco dependence treatment away from a smoking cessation model, in which patients are either successful...
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