New research review shows that your family doctor may be the key to quitting smoking

November 26, 2007

Scientists at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) are defining the most effective ways to treat tobacco dependence, and in an article released in the November issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) they highlight the surprisingly significant role that the health practitioner can play in helping people quit smoking. Many people's attempts to quit are unsuccessful, so effective interventions are critical for the 4.5 million smokers in Canada alone.

"Advising patients to quit, even just once, helps to double quit rates," write CAMH researchers Dr. Bernard Le Foll and Dr. Tony George. Their article Treatment of tobacco dependence: integrating recent progress into practice is a comprehensive summary of tobacco use, causes of nicotine dependence, and advances in treatment and intervention."To initiate as many cessation attempts as possible, practitioners should advise all of their patients who smoke to quit."

Research shows that since an estimated 70% of smokers visit a physician each year, family doctors have a substantial opportunity to influence smoking behaviour. "Even a short intervention (three minutes or less) can increase a person's motivation to quit and can significantly increase abstinence rates," the authors write. They provide an algorithm topped by the simple question "Are you smoking"" to help physicians integrate a patient's smoking status and his or her readiness to quit, taking a comprehensive approach that combines assessment, behavioural interventions and pharmacologic treatment of tobacco dependence.

The article also showed that smokers with moderate to severe tobacco dependence have been found to respond best to three types of pharmacotherapy -- nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion and varenicline -- but there is no clear threshold that can help clinicians decide whether a particular patient will benefit from a particular pharmacotherapy, and there is no consensus on which one should be used first. The authors' provide physicians with a clear comparative table of these three first-line pharmacologic treatments, as well as advice on whether to combine these pharmotherapies, or to consider nortriptyline and clonidine as second-line medications.

Epidemiologic studies have indicated that the majority of successful attempts to quit smoking occur without direct medical assistance or without pharmacotherapy. "The use of nonpharmacologic methods (such as counseling) should be encouraged, especially for people for whom medication use is problematic," say the authors. "The goal is to motivate the patient to try to quit smoking." Moreover, pharmacological interventions are clearly effective and allow doctors to double or triple the odds of success.
-end-
Visit www.cmaj.ca for a copy of the article and the Journal's press release on this issue.

For more information or to schedule interviews please contact Michael Torres, Media Relations, CAMH at (416) 595-6015

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's leading addiction and mental health teaching hospital. Integrating clinical care, scientific research, education, policy development and health promotion, CAMH transforms the lives of people impacted by mental health and addiction issues.

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Related Smoking Articles from Brightsurf:

Smoking rates falling in adults, but stroke survivors' smoking rates remain steady
While the rate of Americans who smoke tobacco has fallen steadily over the last two decades, the rate of stroke survivors who smoke has not changed significantly.

What is your risk from smoking? Your network knows!
A new study from researchers at Penn's Annenberg School for Communication found that most people, smokers and non-smokers alike, were nowhere near accurate in their answers to questions about smoking's health effects.

Want to quit smoking? Partner up
Kicking the habit works best in pairs. That's the main message of a study presented today at EuroPrevent 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Smoking and mortality in Asia
In this analysis of data from 20 studies conducted in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India with more than 1 million participants, deaths associated with smoking continued to increase among men in Asia grouped by the years in which they were born.

Predictors of successfully quitting smoking among smokers registered at the quit smoking clinic at a public hospital in northeastern Malaysia
In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health, Nur Izzati Mohammad et al. consider how cigarette smoking is one of the risk factors leading to noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory system diseases and cancer.

Restaurant and bar smoking bans do reduce smoking, especially among the highly educated
Smoking risk drops significantly in college graduates when they live near areas that have completely banned smoking in bars and restaurants, according to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

How the UK smoking ban increased wellbeing
Married women with children reported the largest increase in well-being following the smoking bans in the UK in 2006 and 2007 but there was no comparable increase for married men with children.

Smoking study personalizes treatment
A simple blood test is allowing Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) researchers to determine which patients should be prescribed varenicline (Chantix) to stop smoking and which patients could do just as well, and avoid side effects, by using a nicotine patch.

A biophysical smoking gun
While much about Alzheimer's disease remains a mystery, scientists do know that part of the disease's progression involves a normal protein called tau, aggregating to form ropelike inclusions within brain cells that eventually strangle the neurons.

A case where smoking helped
A mutation in the hemoglobin of a young woman in Germany was found to cause her mild anemia.

Read More: Smoking News and Smoking Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.