ADDICTION TO NICOTINE - SOME PARALLELS TO NARCOTIC ADDICTION:
An article in the current issue of Lancet by JD Pollack and colleagues notes that of the estimated 45 million American smokers, over 43% had tried to quit during the past 12 months. Of those who tried to quit on their own, 80% relapsed within one month and only 3% were abstinent at 6 months. The results were better with pharmacotherapy, but "only 15-35% ... were able to remain abstinent for more than a year." Interestingly, there is no mention of anything less than total smoking abstinence - smokers who cut down from, say, two packs a day to five cigarettes apparently were not distinguished from those who never cut down consumption at all.