Maximizing help for dissonant smokers

Authors

  • Michael Kunze


Abstract

'Consonant' smokers know and accept the risks associated with tobacco consumption, and do not wish to change their smoking, whereas 'dissonant' smokers are tobacco consumers whose attitudes differ from their behaviour. Dissonant smokers have several options: to quit smoking (the optimal solution), reduce their smoking, switch products or brands, or do nothing. To date, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is the best-established medical aid to smoking cessation, but several important factors impact on NRT use. As smokers constitute a diverse group there is a need for various different formulations, some of which will suit certain smokers better than others. Smokers should be allowed to select their preferred products in order to increase compliance, and should also be permitted to combine various products if desired. Adequate dosage regimens should be stressed in order to avoid under-dosing, which is common with NRT. It is also essential that the medical system focuses increasingly on the diagnosis and treatment of those smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit smoking. High nicotine dependence correlates with a high risk of pulmonary and cardiovascular disease; because these smokers cannot quit, cessation efforts have little impact on the incidence of tobacco-related diseases in this population. Additional smoking control interventions, such as smoking reduction therapy, are therefore required to treat this group. Our experience in Vienna shows that these smokers can be targeted through approaches that utilize new messages offering alternatives to cessation.

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