Talking Down Cold Turkey

Smoking globe"Some public-health officials say [drug] industry-funded doctors are ignoring ... studies that suggest cold turkey is just as effective or even superior to nicotine patches and other pharmaceuticals over the long run, not to mention cheaper," reports Kevin Helliker. One example: Dr. Michael Fiore, who headed the panel that developed federal guidelines on smoking cessation, "runs an academic research center funded in part by drug companies that make quit-smoking aids" and has personally "received tens of thousands of dollars in speaking and consulting fees from those companies." At least eight other members on the federal panel also "had ties to the makers of stop-smoking products," such as GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer. The panel now revising the guidelines includes seven members with industry ties, including Fiore, who continues to head it. Health researcher Lois Biener pointed out that most smokers "who do quit successfully do so without" drugs. But the bias for patches and drugs is strong. "In November 2006, during the week of the Great American Smokeout, doctors around the country participated in a campaign called 'Don't Go Cold Turkey.' the creator of the campaign was GlaxoSmithKline."