Pharmacological Treatment of Tobacco Dependence


PharmacologicalTreatment of Tobacco Dependence

PharmacologicalTreatment of Tobacco Dependence

Inthe mid-70s, there were no efficient pharmacological treatments fordependence on tobacco and few pharmaceutical firms or behaviouralscientists were putting a substantial effort into this field. Fortyyears later, the landscape of tobacco dependence treatments has beenchanged, with many types of efficient nicotine replacement therapy aswell as non-nicotine pharmacotherapies utilized extensively all overthe world. Nicotine therapeutic treatments began with nicotineinjections to treat tobacco satisfaction and craving in 1942. Towardsthe end of the WWII, key researchers discovered links between lungcancer and smoking. However, these insights regarding the nature oftobacco dependence went unnoticed (Cofta-Woerpel, Wright, &ampWetter, 2006).

Twomajor breakthroughs highlight the prospective of nicotinereplacement, and two pioneer researchers in this field in theirAddiction journal, Murray Jarvik and Michael Russel, documented one.They discussed the development of nicotine gum and anotherbreakthrough was the development of correct procedures of measuringcotinine, nicotine, and carbon dioxide with body fluids and expiredair. The procedures allowed the validation of biochemicallyabstinence claims in studies and estimation of the level of nicotinesubstation offered by therapies of nicotine replacement. Thisresearch permitted the US Surgeon General Report concludes thatnicotine is the key addictive element in tobacco (Cofta-Woerpel,Wright, &amp Wetter, 2006).

SocialConcerns Related to Tobacco Use

Globally,there are virtually 1.2 billion users of tobacco and nicotineproducts. In America, smoking of cigarettes is attributed topreventable mortality and morbidity. The negative health effects ofsmoking of cigarettes are astounding, and encompass lung cancers,heart diseases, chronic lung diseases, and strokes. Globally, the useof tobacco causes over 5 million deaths every year. If the prevalenceof smoking continues to rise, the number of deaths per yearaccredited to tobacco use will be over 8 million by 2030. On top oftobacco use, exposure to tobacco smoke for non-smokers increaseschances of cancer as well as other diseases. Thus, the need to treatto cigarette use is becoming robust and updated data is required.There is increasing acknowledgment of dependence on tobacco as adependence disorder (Cofta-Woerpel, Wright, &amp Wetter, 2006).

Significanceto Counselling

Practiceguidelines for tobacco dependence therapies recommend behaviouraltherapies to be used first, and pharmacotherapies ought to beintegrated with psychosocial and behavioural components. Psychosocialinterventions could be helpful at each stage of tobacco dependencetherapy. Behavioural interventions, which enhance compliance, shouldbe employed in tobacco treatment therapies. Although integratingpharmacological and psychosocial treatments enhance rates of quittingcompared to when each is used alone, few smokers receive counselling(Cofta-Woerpel, Wright, &amp Wetter, 2006).

CurrentTrends and Issues

Reviewsand meta-analysis based on trials have established that therapies ofnicotine replacement are effective and increase the likelihood ofsmokers efficaciously quitting. Pharmacological replacement treatmentwork through reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms (hunger,poor concentration, and bad mood), and craving (Cofta-Woerpel,Wright, &amp Wetter, 2006). There is growing interest in theestablishment of new compounds such as cannabinoid antagonists,monoaminooxidase inhibitors, and immunotherapy against tobacco’snicotine.


Pharmaceuticalfirms may have a tendency to redirect research spending to licensingand development, but academic researchers should emphasize onresearch, which has the utmost potential for advancing public healthbenefits and scientific comprehension. Substantial advancements inthis area may stem from better comprehension of the mechanisms ofprocess of new and existing pharmacotherapies.


Cofta-Woerpel,L., Wright, K. L., &amp Wetter, D. W. (2006). Smoking Cessation 1:Pharmacological Treatments. BehavioralMedicine,32(2), 47-56.