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Most of the world's smokers (more than 1000 million people, of which about a quarter of adults) are addicted. Many want to leave the snuff, but few get the help they need. In only nine countries, home to 5% of world population, services are fully available to treat tobacco snuff. Countries must establish programs to provide low cost effective interventions for those wishing to break free of their addiction to snuff.

Smoking cessation and treatment of tobacco dependence

Tobacco contains nicotine, an addictive drug on par with heroin and cocaine. The primary purpose of smoking tobacco is to deliver a dose of nicotine rapidly to the brain. Nicotine dependence and withdrawal, which may develop with the use of all forms of tobacco, are identified by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems as a disease under 'Toxic effect of other and unspecified substances'. Read about the neuroscience of psychoactive substance use and dependence.

If you work en the tobacco dependence field, you can read more about the efficacy, safety, demographics and health effects, health economics, and related policies of nicotine dependence treatments. Consult the database and educational resources for treatment of tobacco dependence.

An individual approach (behavioral and/or pharmacological interventions) to treatment of tobacco dependence must be complemented with a supportive environment to encourage tobacco consumers in their attempts to quit. Treatment of tobacco dependence should be part of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy along with measures such as taxation and price policies, advertising restrictions, dissemination of information and establishment of smoke-free public places. Read about WHO´s policy recommendations for smoking cessation and treatment of tobacco dependence.


There are many helpful on-line resources available to help you quit smoking. PAHO does not officially endorse any of these resources, but we provide some links here for your convenience. For other resources, we suggest that you contact your local cancer society, lung association or heart foundation, who may run free programs. You can consult your doctor, public health worker or pharmacist for advice and referrals.

Do you want to quit smoking?

Please click on the following links to access useful information on how to quit smoking

General Guidelines for Cessation Programs

Please click on the following links to access useful information on smoking cessation programs.

Guidelines for Health Professionals

Please click on the following links to access useful information on how to help your patients quit smoking.