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

e with these disorders also quit smoking at equal levels when they got a little help from their doctor.

The study found that the probability of patients with the comorbid disorders quitting without smoking cessation counseling was 6 percent, while patients without the comorbid disorders had a 10.5 percent chance of successfully kicking the habit. With smoking cessation counseling, patients with the comorbid conditions had five-fold better chance of quitting at 31.3 percent, while smokers without the other disorders had a three-fold better chance at 34.9 percent.

"This study shows that primary care physicians can help smokers with alcohol, drug or mental disorders to successfully quit," the study states. "These smokers should be targeted for smoking cessation counseling to reduce the health burden of tobacco."

Ong said there are much higher rates of smoking among schizophrenics and those with depression and anxiety disorders. Among drinkers, those with alcohol disorders include people who are alcohol dependent as well as weekend binge drinkers.

For the study, Ong and his team examined the relationship between past year smoking cessation counseling and successful quitting among 1,356 patients. The patients had reported smoking in the 1998-1999 Community Tracking Study survey and later reported seeing a primary care physician in the last year in a follow-up Healthcare for Communities Survey in 2000-2001.

"We sampled for patients with these disorders and if they were smoking at one time, we followed up two years later to see if they had talked to their primary care physician about quitting and whether they did in fact quit smoking," Ong said. "We picked out smokers from the original survey in 1998 and analyzed data from the second survey in 2000. Nobody had ever examined smokers with these comorbid conditions from this angle before."

Ong said he hopes the study results will be incorporated into new clinical practice
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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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