Although the smoking rate in Switzerland had declined during the 1970s and 1980s, it has not continued to decrease during the 1990s. About one third of the population in Switzerland smoked in 1997. Striking is a sharp increase in young female smokers during recent years. The portion of 15- to 25-year-old female smokers rose from 26% (1992) to 41% (1997). This undesirable development calls for making the most of preventive initiatives to date. Beside primary prevention steps, the range of assistance for smokers also needs to be extended. In addition to the smoking withdrawal counselling introduced, development of a range of programmes should also be expanded to assist smokers who have currently been unable to quit. Reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked within the framework of intensive specialist care can make sense in this situation. In the near future, pharmacological aids (nicotine substitute preparations) are also anticipated for this purpose. The most important resources for such smoker counselling will be presented. Future studies should focus on optimising reduction treatment as a new approach toward treatment.