Davoli M, Minozzi S
Epidemiol Prev. 2002;26(6):287-92
Smoking cessation can be considered the most effective strategy to reduce smoking related mortality at medium term. The aim of this study is to conduct an overview of systematic reviews of effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions in the general population. Medline, Embase and the Cochrane Library for the years 1990-march 2001 have been searched for those systematic reviews of primary studies evaluating the effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions in the general population, adult smokers. The outcome measure was abstinence from smoking at 6 months after the start of the intervention. Thirty papers were found, 15 Cochrane reviews and 15 other systematic reviews. The present overview focuses on Cochrane reviews, because they were more recent and followed a standardised methodology. The interventions which proved to be successful were: the simple medical advice, a structured intervention from nurses, individual counseling, group therapy, nicotine replacement therapy, and bupropion. There is not enough evidence yet that one strategy is better than another. Even though there is evidence that it is possible to quit smoking without any intervention, we can recommend that every physician register the smoking habits of his patients, encourage smokers to quit and offer all the available effective strategies.