A new report by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) suggests that not enough is being done to help heavily-addicted smokers kick their habits.
And the organisation is urging the government to face up to the issue of nicotine addiction and implement a host of reforms to help save more lives.
Professor John Britton, chairman of the RCP Tobacco Advisory Group, called for a new "harm reduction" approach, saying it is the toxic chemicals which are found in cigarettes that cause deaths, rather than nicotine.
Speaking at the launch of the RCP report entitled "Harm Reduction In Nicotine Addiction: Helping People Who Can't Quit", he said the millions of smokers who could not give up need nicotine products that can satisfy their craving without killing them.
He said: "Smokers smoke because they are addicted to nicotine, but it isn't nicotine in cigarette smoke that kills, it's the hundreds of other toxic chemicals that come with it.
"There are millions of smokers who can't quit, or else who are unlikely to quit, and those people need nicotine products that can satisfy their addiction without killing them."
The RCP is calling for the whole nicotine market to be reformed and wants smokers to be provided with safer sources of nicotine and effective cigarette substitutes, and more effective and user-friendly medicinal nicotine substitutes to be developed.