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Not Enough Smokers Find Quit Support at the Doctor's Office
Date:3/31/2009

National Survey Highlights Lack of Communication, Uneasiness and Limited Resources Create Missed Opportunities for Smokers to Quit

WASHINGTON, April 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Health care providers (HCPs) are one of the most important allies a smoker can have, particularly when it comes to understanding health risks of smoking and learning about the quitting process. Why, then, have more than one in five smokers (21%) never talked to a HCP about their smoking?(1)A national survey from the American Legacy Foundation(R) of more than 1,000 current smokers reveals that smokers may be overlooking critical opportunities to talk to their HCPs about smoking - and, more important, about quitting.

"A surprising number of smokers aren't taking advantage of their health care providers' ability to help them quit smoking, and are therefore continuing to put themselves at risk for serious health issues," said Cheryl G. Healton, Dr. P.H., president and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation. "Even more alarming is that when conversations do take place about smoking, patients don't seem to be getting the information they need to begin a successful quit attempt."

On average, smokers make 6 to 9 quit attempts in a lifetime.(2) National government guidelines state that the most effective way to quit smoking is through a combination of medication and counseling.(3) But of the smokers surveyed who have talked to their HCP about smoking, just 20 percent were provided with either self-help cessation materials, information about classes and counseling programs, shown a video about quitting, or referred to a cessation specialist the last time they spoke with their HCP.(1) Moreover, fewer than half (44%) were recommended a smoking cessation medication, such as over-the-counter nicotine replacement products or prescription drugs.(1) Ironically, nearly eight in 10 (79%) smokers surveyed said they were satisfied with the help they received
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SOURCE American Legacy Foundation
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