Global public health experts call for increased support for tobacco dependence treatment

A Comment published in The Lancet on January 20 calls for more emphasis on tobacco dependence treatment as an integral piece of global tobacco control efforts. Authors Martin Raw, Judith Mackay and Srinath Reddy point out that only one in seven of the world’s smokers has access to treatment and discuss the disproportionate burden of tobacco addiction on low and middle-income countries. They highlight relatively simple, effective cessation interventions that can be put in place quickly and affordably. Approaches such as the Global Bridges international network can equip healthcare professionals with the necessary skills to offer treatment.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment, but Global Bridges is a prime example of an international network of skilled, passionate healthcare professionals tailoring treatment to specific populations. It has great potential as a useful model for expansion,” said J. Taylor Hays, M.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and chair of Global Bridges. “Global Bridges is also an example of a capacity-building initiative that equips healthcare professionals with the expertise they need in order to empower patients. More work needs to be done to build treatment capacity, particularly in low and middle income countries. Healthcare professionals are key to helping smokers stop.”

Share your thoughts on The Lancet piece and join the conversation on the Global Bridges Discussion Board.