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Overview of smoking cessation management in adults

Nancy A Rigotti, MD
Section Editors
James K Stoller, MD, MS
Mark D Aronson, MD
Deputy Editor
Judith A Melin, MA, MD, FACP


Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of mortality. Smokers who quit smoking reduce their risk of developing and dying from tobacco-related diseases [1,2].

This topic provides an overview of smoking cessation management in adults, and a simple five-step algorithm called the “5 A’s” (Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, Arrange) (table 1 and table 2) with suggestions for implementation in primary care practice.

Pharmacologic treatments and behavioral counseling to support smoking cessation, and the benefits of smoking cessation are discussed in more detail separately. (See "Pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation in adults" and "Behavioral approaches to smoking cessation" and "Benefits and risks of smoking cessation".)

Management of smoking cessation in adolescents and pregnant women is discussed separately. (See "Management of smoking cessation in adolescents" and "Cigarette smoking: Impact on pregnancy and the neonate", section on 'Smoking cessation'.)


Approximately two-thirds of smokers say that they want to quit, and over 50 percent of smokers report that they tried to quit in the past year [3,4]. However, only 3 to 6 percent of smokers who make an unaided quit attempt are still abstinent one year later. Fewer than one-third of adult smokers who try to quit seek help, and even fewer use the most effective treatments [3-5]. With optimal treatment, 25 to 35 percent of smokers who try to quit can succeed for six months or more [6].

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Feb 17, 2017.
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