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New HHS guide helps nurses encourage patients to quit smoking

In recognition of National Nurses Week, May 6-12, AHRQ and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released a new tool that will give nurses evidence-based information that they can use to help their patients quit smoking. The pocket guide, Helping Smokers Quit: A Guide for Nurses, was developed by AHRQ in collaboration with Tobacco Free Nurses, a national initiative funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to increase nurses' participation in tobacco control.

The free pocket guide gives nurses easy access to information based on the "5 As" approach to cessation intervention: Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, and Arrange. It also includes a current listing of smoking cessation medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration and a referral to HHS' National Quitline, 1-800-QUIT NOW.

Smoking causes more than 440,000 deaths each year. About 70 percent of adult smokers report that they would like to quit, but only half of all smokers who see a health care professional have ever been urged to quit.

Studies have shown that the Nation's 3 million nurses—the largest group of clinicians in the country—are very effective in helping people stop smoking. Because of their sheer numbers and the public trust, nurses are in a unique position to assist patients with smoking cessation, according to experts.

Partners in the Tobacco Free Nurses Initiative include the American Nurses Association/American Nurses Foundation, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations, and the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at UCLA.

Go to www.ahrq.gov/about/nursing/hlpsmksqt.htm to access the guide online. Free print copies of Helping Smokers Quit: A Guide for Nurses (AHRQ Publication No. 05-0035) are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse. For additional Web-based resources for nurses, visit Tobacco Free Nurses at www.tobaccofreenurses.org.

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