Letter: Face the facts on tobacco addiction

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The Independent Online
Sir: Clive Turner of British-American-Tobacco ("Won't give it up or can't give it up", 24 August) attempts to wriggle out of dealing with the reality of addiction to smoking tobacco.

The BMA, in its book Help Your Patient Stop (1988), suggests doctors avoid using the word "addiction" when advising patients about giving up smoking, simply and solely because the word has such a disheartening message about the power of the nicotine habit.

Addiction is not just a liking for something, nor even an abuse. It is a physical and/or psychological dependence on a substance or activity. While "addiction" to chocolate or sex may indeed be questionable, addiction to tobacco is a reality which kills millions every year.

DR VIVIENNE NATHANSON

Head of Science, Ethics and Policy Research

British Medical Association

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