Physicianbased Treatments

Physicians interested in preventive medicine make special efforts to encourage and support smoking cessation in their patients. In 1964, only about 15 percent of current smokers reported that a physician had advised them to quit smoking. By 1987, about 50 percent of current smokers had received such advice. Sometimes just the advice of a physician to quit and the setting of a quitting date can lead to successful smoking cessation. Physicians can also be helpful by referring patients to smoking treatment programs. Specialists who deal with patients already suffering from a smoking-related disease can be in a good position to help those who are well motivated to quit, but cardiac or lung patients often fail to stop smoking. Being diagnosed with a smoking-related disease is no guarantee that the patient will quit smoking.

The Importance of "Minimal" Interventions. In medical settings, there has been research on the value of interventions (e.g., brief advice, pamphlets) that take only a few minutes of the physician's time. Although the effects of these interventions are usually small, they are generally viewed as worthwhile because they can reach so many smokers.

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