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A Quantitative Estimate of the Clinical Significance of Treating Tobacco Dependence

      The U.S. Public Health Service,
      • Fiore M.
      • Jaen C.
      • Baker T.
      Treating tobacco use and dependence: clinical practice guideline.
      the WHO,
      World Health Organization.
      and many other organizations have stated that treatment to help smokers stop smoking is one of the most, if not the most, efficacious clinical interventions to prevent early death. Despite this, many have underestimated the magnitude of this benefit.
      • Chapman S.
      • MacKenzie R.
      The global research neglect of unassisted smoking cessation: causes and consequences.
      A prior paper quantified this benefit in terms of cost per life year gained from treatment;
      • West R.
      The clinical significance of “small” effects of smoking cessation treatments.
      however, a probably more widely used measure of clinical benefit is the number-needed-to-treat (NNT) to avoid an excess (or early) death
      • Smeeth L.
      • Haines A.
      • Ebrahim S.
      Numbers needed to treat derived from meta-analyses—sometimes informative, usually misleading.
      (www.medicine.ox.ac.uk/bandolier). I am unaware of a prior calculation of the NNT for smoking-cessation treatment.
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        Treating tobacco use and dependence: clinical practice guideline.
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