Physician- and Dentist-Delivered Interventions
The majority of smokers say that they would be influenced to quit or curtail the habit if they were asked to do so by their doctors or dentists. Health care providers, particularly physicians and dentists, are looked to for guidance in all health matters. It is only natural and reasonable that they counsel their patients about the serious health risks related to tobacco use. The approximately 550,000 physicians and 135,000 dentists in the US are in a unique position to influence patients to quit smoking. An estimated 70% of all adults in the US see a physician at least once a year. Hence, a substantial number of the nations smokers could conceivably be reached with a smoking cessation message from their doctors. In fact, if only 10% of physicians incorporated a simple smoking intervention technique into their practices, and if only 25 of their smoking patients quit, more than 1 million individuals could become ex-smokers each year (Fig 3). cfm-online-shop.com
Five physician- and dentist-delivered intervention projects are under way investigating a variety of approaches in a range of medical and health settings, eg, medical schools, private offices, and health maintenance organizations. Under investigation is an array of health care provider interventions that range from a few words of advice to the distribution of printed materials and detailed counseling. In addition to assessing the effectiveness of various forms of physician advice, some of the research is examining optimal methods of smoking-related continuing medical education and the impact of using nicotine chewing gum as a cessation aid. Various levels of follow-up are being explored from an occasional telephone call to ex-smokers to home visitations.
The projects are also examining how well physicians and dentists continue to incorporate smoking cessation intervention into patient care and long-term patient cessation efforts. Through these projects, 40,000 patients are receiving interventions from their physicians; over 700 physicians and dentists will receive training or instruction on ways to intervene with patients who smoke and use tobacco.