Clinical reviews: Smoking cessation

E-cigarette pilot study helps smokers quit

22 Jun 2020Paid-up subscribers

More than a third of smokers who completed a pilot study of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid quit smoking.

Tailor smoking cessation advice to the patient

20 Dec 2019Paid-up subscribers

Effectiveness of smoking cessation aids varies between different types of smokers, a survey-based UK study has found. The data presented in this large, representative sample may provide useful information for GPs and other treatment providers in tailoring quit smoking advice to individual patients.

Quitting smoking in pregnancy lowers risk of preterm birth

25 Nov 2019Paid-up subscribers

Smoking cessation in pregnant women is associated with a reduced risk of preterm birth, a large study from the United States has shown. Information was obtained from live birth certificates issued between 2011 and 2017 as part of the US National Vital Statistics System. Overall, 25,233,503 pregnant women who delivered live neonates and had data recorded on pre-pregnancy and trimester-specific cigarette smoking frequency were included in the analysis.

Many smokers and former smokers have misconceptions about nicotine

25 Sep 2019Paid-up subscribers

Nearly 40% of smokers and former smokers believe it is the nicotine in cigarettes that causes cancer, a UK study has found.

Benefits of quitting smoking outweigh the risks of weight gain

24 Jun 2019Paid-up subscribers

The cardiovascular and overall mortality benefits of stopping smoking far outweigh the risks of weight gain and acquiring type 2 diabetes, a study from the United States has shown.



Smoking still the leading cause of preventable illness and early death

20 Dec 2018Registered users

A steady decline in cigarette smoking in adults between 1993 and 2017 and a decrease in the number of both men and women drinking at harmful levels between 2011 and 2017 are key findings from the Health Survey for England (HSE) 2017. Nevertheless, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable illness and premature death and alcohol remains a causal factor in numerous medical and mental health conditions, including cancer, cirrhosis, hypertension, depression, and accidents and injuries.

Risk of acute STEMI significantly increased in younger smokers

23 Jan 2017Registered users

Smoking is associated with an eight-fold increased risk of acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) in those under 50 compared with former and never smokers, a UK study has found.

Abrupt smoking cessation more effective than cutting down

23 Sep 2016Paid-up subscribers

A large UK trial found clear evidence that quitting smoking abruptly was superior in both the short- and longer-term to gradual cessation. The researchers concluded that in clinical practice patients should be encouraged to stop smoking abruptly and not gradually. 

Active and passive smoking linked to infertility and early menopause

25 Jan 2016Registered users

Exposure to tobacco smoke through passive as well as active smoking is associated with an increased risk of infertility and menopause occurring before the age of 50, a large observational study has shown. This is the first study to assess the impact of second-hand smoking on infertility and age of menopause.

Smoking-related deaths linked to a wider range of diseases

23 Apr 2015Registered users

Taking data from five large US cohort studies, the authors of this present study posed the question: ‘Do current official estimates underestimate the deaths caused by smoking?' Overall, the excess mortality for smokers within the study population was 2.8 times that of never smokers and 17% of excess mortality was related to diseases not formally associated with smoking.

Second-hand smoke in the home more harmful than air pollution

24 Nov 2014Registered users

Pollution caused by fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is around ten times higher in homes where people smoke indoors compared with non-smoking homes, a study from Scotland has found. Furthermore, home air pollution from smoking appears to dwarf that from outdoor sources. Approximately 20% of those living in smoking homes in Scotland will inhale a lifetime mass of PM2.5 greater than the median value predicted for a non-smoker living in a heavily polluted urban setting.

Smoking cessation improves anxiety and depression

20 Mar 2014Paid-up subscribers

Smokers with a history of anxiety, mood or alcohol use disorders are significantly more likely to be in remission three years later if they quit smoking, an American study has found. Smoking cessation may increase the likelihood of remission, but equally, those who recover may find it easier to quit smoking.

Weighing up the risks and benefits of smoking cessation therapies

05 Dec 2013Paid-up subscribers

A prospective cohort study from the UK has found no evidence that varenicline or bupropion raise the risk of depression, self harm or suicide.


Special reports

GPs have key role in helping patients to stop smoking

23 May 2012Paid-up subscribers

18% of all deaths in adults aged 35 or over in England are still attributable to smoking. Almost all these premature deaths could be avoided if smokers stopped before their mid-thirties but only a quarter of people who have ever smoked regularly manage to quit by this age. GP advice is one of the most important triggers to a smoker making an attempt to quit. Evidence shows that offering help to all smokers is easier, quicker and likely to be more effective than just advising smokers to stop or asking whether they are interested in quitting.