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New Year's Resolution for Clinicians—Help Smokers Quit

Media Advisory: December 30, 1997

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) announces a new Smoking Cessation Two-Three Initiative that seeks to enlist the help of all clinicians to get their patients who smoke to quit. The Initiative highlights the AHCPR-sponsored smoking cessation Clinical Practice Guideline released last year recommending two questions: "Do You Smoke?" and "Do You Want To Quit?" be part of every medical assessment by clinicians. This should be followed by an intervention as brief as three minutes recommending smoking cessation treatments proven to work. Research shows that smokers have the best chance of quitting when their health care providers get involved.

To aid clinicians in the intervention, AHCPR has developed a Smoking Cessation Consumer Tools Kit, complete with four easy-to-read, black and white, reproducible, one-pagers that address particular concerns of smokers, especially those in challenging situations such as First Time Quitters, Multiple Quit Attempts, Pregnancy and Smoking, and Smokers Facing Surgery. "Because of our unique access to the smoking population, doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and other clinicians are an important part of any solution addressing strategies to help the millions of Americans who want to quit," says Michael C. Fiore, M.D., director of the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention at the University of Wisconsin Medical School and the chair of the panel that developed the Smoking Cessation Guideline.

"A fitting New Year's resolution for all clinicians would be to take the time needed to counsel every one of our smoking patients. Anything less and we would be failing them," Fiore adds. Clinicians also are encouraged to refer patients to local smoking cessation programs and chapters of the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association.

The Initiative follows on the heels of an AHCPR-funded report released earlier this month that found smoking cessation efforts to be cost-effective. "While there are no magic bullets that will automatically transform a smoker into an ex-smoker, it is clear that clinicians can help patients achieve this critical health goal," adds John M. Eisenberg, M.D., AHCPR Administrator.

AHCPR plans to implement the Smoking Cessation Two-Three Initiative by encouraging medical and professional associations to:

  • Disseminate the Smoking Cessation Consumer Tools Kit to members.
  • Place advertisements promoting guideline products in journals, newsletters and on home pages.
  • Include tobacco education/training sessions in upcoming meetings.

For instance, as part of its tobacco control efforts, the National Medical Association's Stop Active Smoking And Take Charge Program (SASATAC) has adopted the Smoking Cessation guideline products to encourage physicians and health care practitioners to incorporate these evidence-based, scientific recommendations into existing intervention programs.

A free copy of the Smoking Cessation Consumer Tools Kit can be obtained through the AHCPR Clearinghouse by calling 800-358-9295, writing to Smoking Cessation, AHCPR Publications Clearinghouse, P.O. Box 8547, Silver Spring, MD 20907-8547. The materials also can be obtained through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) by calling (770) 488-5705 or writing to OSH at Mailstop K-50, 4770 Buford Highway, N.E., Chamblee, GA 30341. You also can access the Smoking Cessation Consumer Tools Kit on AHCPR's newly redesigned Web site at and the Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) Website at after January 9.

For additional information contact AHCPR Public Affairs; Harriett V. Bennett, (301) 427-1861 (; Salina V. Prasad, (301) 427-1864 (

Internet Citation:

New Year's Resolution for Clinicians—Help Smokers Quit. Media Advisory, December 30, 1997. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Rockville, MD.



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