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Tob Control. 2012 Mar;21(2):110-8. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2011-050371.

Interventions to increase smoking cessation at the population level: how much progress has been made in the last two decades?

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1
University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0905, USA. szhu@ucsd.edu

Abstract

This paper reviews the literature on smoking cessation interventions, with a focus on the last 20 years (1991 to 2010). These two decades witnessed major development in a wide range of cessation interventions, from pharmacotherapy to tobacco price increases. It was expected that these interventions would work conjointly to increase the cessation rate on the population level. This paper examines population data from the USA, from 1991 to 2010, using the National Health Interview Surveys. Results indicate there is no consistent trend of increase in the population cessation rate over the last two decades. Various explanations are presented for this lack of improvement, and the key concept of impact = effectiveness × reach is critically examined. Finally, it suggests that the field of cessation has focused so much on developing and promoting interventions to improve smokers' odds of success that it has largely neglected to investigate how to get more smokers to try to quit and to try more frequently. Future research should examine whether increasing the rate of quit attempts would be key to improving the population cessation rate.

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