Nicotine Dependence: Psychosocial Approaches to the Prevention of Smoking Relapse

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Currently, < 30% of adults in the United States smoke cigarettes. Cigarette smoking is a progressive and relapsing addictive behavior. Relapse after successful cessation of cigarette smoking occurs all too frequently. Two thirds of smokers who quit either on their own or with the help of an intervention relapse within the first 3 months after quitting. Even after several months of abstinence, relapse often occurs. Efforts to reduce or prevent smoking relapse need to address the addictive and reinforcing properties of nicotine as well as the multiple biopsychosocial relationships among nicotine, affect regulation, cognitive functioning, and body weight. More work is needed in developing more effective smoking cessation and relapse prevention interventions for hard-core smokers, many of whom suffer from psychiatric conditions and come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. These smokers appear to be more vulnerable to the addictive properties of nicotine.

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