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Smokers with comorbid conditions need help from their doctor to quit
Date:8/23/2011

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 at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has found.

Smokers with these comorbid conditions make up about 40 percent of the smoking population, have a more difficult time quitting and represent a significant burden on the healthcare system. If their primary care physicians could help them to quit smoking it would aid both in improving the health of patients and reducing tobacco-related healthcare costs, said Dr. Michael Ong, an assistant professor of general internal medicine and health services research and a researcher with UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"We found it would be very effective for primary care physicians to provide help in quitting smoking to these patients," Ong said. "However, in the context of everything these physicians are trying to do in a day, smoking cessation may fall by the wayside. It's also been thought that with this patient population, doctors should only take on one thing at a time, for example treating an opiate addiction and opting to deal with the smoking cessation later. But at the end of the day, we showed that smoking cessation counseling is effective in this patient population and should definitely be pursued."

The study appears today in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, the peer-reviewed journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.

Primary care physicians play an important role in smoking cessation counseling. However, prior to this study, their effectiveness with this patient population was unclear, Ong said.

And while the Ong's study found that smokers with and without alcohol, drug or mental disorders were equally likely to receive smoking cessation counseling 72.9 percent and 79.9 percent respectively - thos
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Contact: Kim Irwin
kirwin@mednet.ucla.edu
310-206-2805
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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