Doctors need training to help smokers quit

May 18, 2012 By David Pittman

Health care professionals do a better job helping people quit smoking when they are trained in smoking cessation techniques, a new Cochrane Library review finds.

Smoking cessation training helped health care providers identify interventions that help smokers quit. “The vast majority of health professionals would ask about smoking status, yet very few would offer advice or support to quit,” said Kristin Carson, medical research specialist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide, Australia. Providers cited a lack of time, confidence and more pressing health priorities as reasons for not offering such advice, the study found.

Carson and her colleagues reviewed 17 clinical trials to assess the success of smoking cessation programs of more than 1,700 health professionals and 28,500 patients.

Training of providers, defined as doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacist, ranged from one 40-minute session to a five-day workshop.  “Overall, the interventions were not overly expensive, difficult to implement or time-consuming,” Carson said. Trained were more likely to ask patients to set a quit date, make follow-up appointments, counsel smokers and provide self-help materials.

Doctors and other providers can strongly influence smoking habits as nearly 80 percent of individuals visit a primary care provider at least once a year, Carson notes. She called for smoking cessation intervention training to be integrated into routine medical education for all doctors and dentists.

Health professional training is “essential” to reducing tobacco reliance, said Wendy Bjornson, co-director of the Oregon Health & Science University Center.

“While most health professionals recognize the importance of advising patients to stop smoking, many of them do not know how to help beyond telling them they should quit,” Bjornson said.

Health providers also need tools within their practices to help hold patients accountable such as setting up referrals for cessation support services. Without such systems, she said it’s difficult to help patients regardless of training.

Explore further: Smokers with comorbid conditions need help from their doctor to quit

More information: Carson KV, et al. Training health professionals in smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD000214. DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD000214.pub2

Related Stories

Smokers with comorbid conditions need help from their doctor to quit

August 23, 2011
Smokers who also have alcohol, drug and mental disorders would benefit greatly from smoking cession counseling from their primary care physicians and would be five times more successful at kicking the habit, a study by researchers ...

Recommended for you

Americans misinformed about smoking

August 22, 2017
After voluminous research studies, numerous lawsuits and millions of deaths linked to cigarettes, it might seem likely that Americans now properly understand the risks of smoking.

Women who sexually abuse children are just as harmful to their victims as male abusers

August 21, 2017
"That she might seduce a helpless child into sexplay is unthinkable, and even if she did so, what harm can be done without a penis?"

To reduce postoperative pain, consider sleep—and caffeine

August 18, 2017
Sleep is essential for good mental and physical health, and chronic insufficient sleep increases the risk for several chronic health problems.

Despite benefits, half of parents against later school start times

August 18, 2017
Leading pediatrics and sleep associations agree: Teens shouldn't start school so early.

Doctors exploring how to prescribe income security

August 18, 2017
Physicians at St. Michael's Hospital are studying how full-time income support workers hired by health-care clinics can help vulnerable patients or those living in poverty improve their finances and their health.

Schoolchildren who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try tobacco

August 17, 2017
Vaping - or the use of e-cigarettes - is widely accepted as a safer option for people who are already smoking.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.