Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Phase of CDC's No-Holds-Barred Anti-Smoking Campaign: "Talk with your doctor for help"

As we wrote about earlier this spring, the new "TIPS from a former smoker" campaign from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is gaining a lot of attention for its no-holds-barred effort to shock non-smokers into staying smoke-free and smokers into to quitting smoking - hopefully for good.

One primary thrust of the campaign is to get smokers to hook up with local, state, and federal resources (like 1-800-QUIT-NOW and smokefree.gov) for tools to help them quit.  While many smokers are able to quit cold turkey, there's very good evidence that smokers who get some kind of external help have a greater chance of eventually succeeding in dropping smoking once and for all.

As was recently highlighted in a nice piece in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the second phase of the TIPS campaign is just rolling out and builds on this approach by encouraging smokers to talk to their doctors about getting help quitting.  While most physicians today do a good job asking patients about their smoking history, there is still a lot of room for improvement - both in asking about a patient's smoking history and in effectively helping them quit.  Prompting patients to actively talk with physicians for help quitting can only further cement smoking as a key part of the patient-doctor relationship, kicking up the rate of successfully quitting along the way.

"Shared decision-making" is a key ideal of medical care moving forward - patient and doctor working together to make decisions that are best for the patient across a number of issues.  Talking together about the best way to quit smoking could be a great way to open that conversation or keep it going.

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