Tobacco use is associated with 5 million deaths per year worldwide and is regarded as one of the leading causes of premature death. Comprehensive programmes for tobacco control can substantially reduce the frequency of tobacco use. An important component of a comprehensive programme is the provision of treatment for tobacco addiction. Treatment involves targeting several aspects of addiction including the underlying neurobiology and behavioural processes. Furthermore, building an infrastructure in health systems that encourages and helps with cessation, as well as expansion of the accessibility of treatments, is necessary. Although pharmacological and behavioural treatments are effective in improving cessation success, the rate of relapse to smoking remains high, emphasising the strong addictive nature of nicotine. The future of treatment resides in improvement in patient matching to treatment, combination or novel drugs, and viewing nicotine addiction as a chronic disorder that might need long-term treatment. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.