Smoking Cessation in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

  • Tashkin D
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Smoking cessation is the most effective strategy for slowing down the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and reducing mortality in the approximately 50% of patients with diagnosed COPD who continue to smoke. While behavioral interventions (including simple advice) have modest efficacy in improving smoking quit rates, the combination of counseling and pharmacotherapy is more effective than either alone. When combined with even brief counseling, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), bupropion SR, and varenicline have all been shown to be effective in promoting smoking cessation and sustained abstinence in smokers with COPD to a degree comparable to that observed in the general smoking population. However, the recidivism rate is high after initial quitting so that at the end of 1 year, approximately 80% or more of patients are still smoking. Thus, new approaches to smoking cessation are needed. One approach is to combine different pharmacotherapies, for example, nicotine patch plus rapidly acting NRT (e.g., gum or nasal spray) and/or bupropion or even varenicline plus either NRT or bupropion, in a stepwise approach over a varying duration depending on the severity of nicotine dependence and nicotine withdrawal symptoms during the quit attempt, as proposed in the American College of Chest Physicians Tobacco Dependence Took Kit. Electronic (e)-cigarettes, which deliver vaporized nicotine without most of the noxious components in the smoke from burning tobacco cigarettes, also has potential efficacy as a smoking cessation aid, but their efficacy and safety as either substitutes for regular cigarettes or smoking cessation aids require additional study. This task is complicated because e-cigarettes are currently unregulated and hundreds of different brands are currently available.[on SciFinder (R)]

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  • Donald P Tashkin

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