Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking results in more than 480,000 premature deaths in the United States each year—about 1 in every 5 U.S. deaths—and an additional 16 million people suffer with a serious illness caused by smoking. In fact, for every one person who dies from smoking, about 30 more suffer from at least one serious tobacco-related illness.
The harmful effects of smoking extend far beyond the smoker. Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause serious diseases and death. Each year, an estimated 88 million nonsmoking Americans are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke and almost 41,000 nonsmokers die from diseases caused by secondhand smoke exposure.
Scientists are currently developing new smoking cessation therapies. For example, they are working on a nicotine vaccine, which would block nicotine’s reinforcing effects by causing the immune system to bind to nicotine in the bloodstream preventing it from reaching the brain. In addition, some medications already in use might work better if they are used together. Scientists are looking for ways to target several relapse symptoms at the same time—like withdrawal, craving and depression.
A publication from the National Institute on Drug AbuseDownload