Bernard Le Foll, Megan E. Piper, Christie D. Fowler, Serena Tonstad, Laura Bierut, Lin Lu, Prabhat Jha and Wayne D. Hall
Abstract | Tobacco smoking is a major determinant of preventable morbidity and mortality worldwide. More than a billion people smoke, and without major increases in cessation, at least half will die prematurely from tobacco- related complications. In addition, people who smoke have a significant reduction in their quality of life. Neurobiological findings have identified the mechanisms by which nicotine in tobacco affects the brain reward system and causes addiction. These brain changes contribute to the maintenance of nicotine or tobacco use despite knowledge of its negative consequences, a hallmark of addiction. Effective approaches to screen, prevent and treat tobacco use can be widely implemented to limit tobacco’s effect on individuals and society. The effectiveness of psychosocial and pharmacological interventions in helping people quit smoking has been demonstrated. As the majority of people who smoke ultimately relapse, it is important to enhance the reach of available interventions and to continue to develop novel interventions. These efforts associated with innovative policy regulations (aimed at reducing nicotine content or eliminating tobacco products) have the potential to reduce the prevalence of tobacco and nicotine use and their enormous adverse impact on population health.
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