Intended for healthcare professionals


Newly available treatments for nicotine addiction

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 05 May 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:1076
  1. Tim Coleman (, senior lecturer,
  2. Robert West, professor of psychology
  1. Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, Leicester Warwick Medical School, Leicester General Hospital, Leicester LE5 4PW
  2. Psychology Department, St George's Hospital Medical School, London SW17 0RE

    Smokers wanting help with stopping now have effective treatment options

    Nicotine addiction is recognised as a life threatening but treatable disorder1 and from 17 April, in accordance with the NHS Plan, all forms of nicotine replacement therapy were made available on NHS prescription.2 Britain now has a comprehensive treatment strategy for nicotine addiction, which includes provision of bupropion (Zyban) on prescription3 and the introduction of specialist smoking cessation services to provide behavioural support to people who want to stop smoking.4

    In theory therefore, every smoker in the country who wants help with overcoming his or her addiction to nicotine now has access to effective treatments. Many general practitioners, however, are sceptical about the appropriateness of having nicotine replacement therapy or bupropion available on NHS prescription,5 and many are unaware of the part these can play in helping smokers to stop. The Health Development Agency is distributing a reprint of guidelines on smoking cessation …

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