Cigarette smoking is the most important preventable cause of morbidity, mortality, and excess health care costs in the United States. From 2000 through 2004, cigarette smoking caused an estimated annual average of 443,595 deaths and cost $193 billion per year in smoking-attributable productivity losses and smoking-related health care expenditures. Preventing smoking and providing effective treatment to help smokers quit will remain a public health priority for the foreseeable future. In support of this goal, the US Department of Health and Human Services recently published the clinical practice guideline entitled Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. The new guideline updates the previous guidelines published in 1996 and 2000 and presents many new research findings to provide a broader evidence base for effective intervention. This article briefly reviews the major updates and recommendations from the new guideline and highlights its practical clinical applications.
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