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Researchers at the UCSD's School of Medicine studying smoking cessation found that despite a wide range of pharmaceutical medications and anti-smoking aids, the ratio of successful quitters remains the same. They are asking that the national policy, which recommends that doctors advise smokers to use cessation aids, be changed.

In the 2012 edition of the Annual Review of Public Health, researchers looked at the increased options that smokers have to help them kick the habit. The findings are "troubling" for researchers who study tobacco.

"For the past decade, attempts to quit smoking have increased, but the proportion of people who become successful quitters has gone down,” said Dr. John P. Pierce, UCSD professor and director of Population Sciences at San Diego Moores Cancer Center. “Widespread dissemination of cessation services has not led to an increase in the probability that a quit attempt will be successful."

Researchers blame the lack of results on poor marketing schemes by pharmaceutical companies pushing cessations aids. Often, marketing campaigns underestimate the difficulty in quitting, especially for younger smokers.

As has been true in the past, the study finds that smokers who quit cold-turkey, without any assistance, continue to be more successful as a group. As an example, Dr. Pierce and fellow researchers use age-old psychology texts to show the importance of will power.

'"In 1890, William James laid out a series of maxims that were widely recognized then and that still hold true today: smokers need to make a strong resolution to change; they need to act quickly on that resolution; they will be more successful if they make a personal commitment to another to be successful; and finally, it is important to understand the danger of having even a single cigarette during a quit attempt."'

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