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Smokers sought for study of different approach to quitting

Article / Review by on November 7, 2011 – 6:19 pmNo Comments

Smokers sought for study of different approach to quitting

Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine are recruiting smokers for a study to test a different approach to helping them quit cigarettes and bolster their chances of staying smoke-free for good.

Sean P. David, M.D., D.Phil.

The study will assess whether an extended period of one-on-one counseling — after an initial phase of counseling plus FDA-approved cessation medications — is more successful in helping smokers kick the habit.

In 2009 there were an estimated 46 million smokers in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Statistics from the American Cancer Society indicate that tobacco use is linked to one in five deaths from causes such as cancer, heart disease, aneurysms, emphysema and stroke.

Sean David, MD, DPhil, clinical associate professor of medicine and the principal investigator for the study, said only a relatively small percentage of smokers who attempt to quit on their own have long-term success.

With the Great American Smokeout taking place on Nov. 17 and the time drawing near when people make new year’s resolutions to change bad habits, many smokers may be looking for options to help them quit for good.

“Relapse following treatment for nicotine dependence continues to be a problem for a lot of smokers,” David said. “We want to find out whether providing support over a longer period of time is a more successful strategy.”

For the study, participants will undergo six months of one-on-one cognitive behavioral therapy in which they will learn strategies to help them decrease their nicotine cravings, develop alternatives to smoking and learn coping skills to resist cigarettes in high-risk situations. Additionally, they will be provided with smoking-cessation medications.

At the end of six months, the participants will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. The first will continue to receive individual counseling sessions for another six months, while the second will receive monthly follow-up phone calls for the same period of time. The frequency of the counseling sessions will decline over the course of the study. “We want them to learn how to be more self-reliant and self-confident in controlling their behavior,” David said.

The researchers will assess both groups at the one-year mark, and will also follow up on the participants two years after they enrolled in the study.

The researchers are recruiting 400 smokers between the ages of 18 and 65 who smoke at least 10 cigarettes a day. Because the clinic visits and therapy sessions will take place in San Jose, the study is open to those who live in Santa Clara County and parts of San Mateo and Alameda counties.

Potential participants will go through a screening that includes a free physical exam to determine their eligibility for the study. All medications and therapy will be provided at no cost.

For information on the trial, contact the research team at (877) 331-3352 or

The study is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse


Sean P. David, M.D., D.Phil.

Sean P. David, M.D., D.Phil. Bio.

Clinical Associate Professor, Medicine – General Medical Disciplines

Stanford Family Medicine
900 Blake Wilbur DriveRm W3045 MC: 5765Stanford, CA 94305
tel(650) 723-6963
fax(650) 498-7750

> Clinical Focus
Family Medicine
Family Practice

> Administrative Appointments
Clinical Associate Professor of Family & Community Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine (2009 – present)
Physician curator, PharmGKB (2010 – present)
Clinical Associate Professor (secondary appointment), Stanford Prevention Research Center (2011 – present)
Adjunct Associate Professor of Family Medicine, Brown Alpert Medical School (2009 – present)
Director of Primary Care Genetics Laboratory & Translational Research Center, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island/Brown Alpert Medical School (2002 – 2009)
Director of C. Everett Koop Health Policy Fellowship, Brown Alpert Medical School (2003 – 2009)
Board member (elected), Rhode Island Public Health Association (2003 – 2005)
Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Brown Alpert Medical School (2001 – 2009)
Instructor of Family Medicine, Brown Alpert Medical School (1999 – 2001)

> Honors and Awards
James C. Puffer, M.D./American Board of Family Medicine/Insitute of Medicine Anniversary Fellow, Institute of Medicine (2011 – 2013)
Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professorship, University of Bristol (2010)
Family Practice Scholar Award, Glaxo-Wellcome (1997)
Dean’s Teaching Excellence Award, Brown Alpert Medical School (2001)
Profiles in Competence Teaching Award, Brown Alpert Medical School (2002)
Advanced Research Training Award, American Academy of Family Physicians (2001 – 2003)
Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars Award, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2002 – 2006)
K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award, National Institute on Drug Abuse/National Institutes of Health (2002 – 2008)
MCR President, Green College, University of Oxford (2004-2005)

>Professional Education
Medical Education: University of Washington School of Medicine WA (1995)
BS, University of Washington Zoology (1990)
SM, Harvard School of Public Health Health & Social Behavior (1999)
PhD Training: University of Oxford UK (2006)
Internship: NH Dartmouth Family Practice Residency NH (1996)
Residency: NH Dartmouth Family Practice Residency NH (1998)
Fellowship, Cancer Research UK GPRG, University of Oxford Genetics (2002)
Board Certification: Family Medicine, American Board of Family Medicine (1998)
Board Certification, ABFM Family Medicine (2005)

> Graduate & Fellowship Program Affiliations

> Community and International Work
Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professorship, University of Bristol
CYP2A6 genotype and smoking in China, Guangzhou, P.R. China

> Current Research Interests
My research encompasses a collaborative, transdisciplinary initiative to translate molecular insights to genomically-tailored and patient-centered personalized medicine. Investigations are focused on the integration of three translational streams of investigation. The first stream triangulates genome-wide association studies with preclinical research using functional neuroimaging and other modalities aimed at elucidating biobehavioural mechanisms nicotine dependence and smoking cessation. The second stream investigates moderating effects of genotype on health-related behavior and drug response (particularly in smoking cessation treatment) in multiple ancestral populations. The third stream investigates the efficacy of genomically-tailored drug and behavioural therapies in prospective first-in-human clinical trials and evidenced-based medicine and policy research (e.g., systematic review/meta-analyses, cost-effectiveness analyses, healthcare delivery systems & educating the primary care workforce).


* Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions – Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

**  The above story is adapted from materials provided by Stanford University School of Medicine


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