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Smokers may Be Motivated to Quit During Interventions in Hospital Stays

Hospitalized patients make a great captive audience for smoking cessation efforts, according to a new systematic review .

The researchers found that when smokers become hospital inpatients, regardless of the reason for admission, they are receptive to efforts to help them to quit smoking after discharge and more likely succeed in the long run.

Smokers know that smoking is harmful to a persons health, but many of them dont really believe that smoking is harmful to their own health until they get sick, said lead author Nancy Rigotti, M.D., director of the Tobacco Research and Treatment Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

The aim of the systematic review was to evaluate how effective smoking cessation programs are when directed to patients admitted to a hospital.

The review appears in the current issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates research in all aspects of health care.

Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing trials on a topic.

Smoking cigarettes increases the risks of many health problems, such as cancer, heart disease and lung disease and many patients with these conditions end up in the hospital.

A hospital stay is a good time to get their attention, the reviewers say, when cessation programs might be more successful because they target a teachable moment when illness makes smokers feel vulnerable to the health risks of smoking.

Kelly Kessler, vice president of program services for the American Lung Association of Maryland, agreed.

For many smokers, life-changing events, such as illness or loss of a loved one, can be very influential in motivating them to make a quit attempt, [but] for others, the stress o
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