December 2007 MedBytes: Smoking Cessation

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Each year, 438,000 Americans die from smoking-related diseases. In Texas, 24,200 adults die every year from smoking. Something can be done to reverse this trend in the country and in the state. Physicians can often serve as catalysts to motivate their patients to quit smoking. But making a difference requires physicians to take time to counsel. These resources will help you make progress in the office and at the hospital.

Texas Medical Association
Founded in 1987 by TMA with a grant from the Texas Cancer Council, the Physician Oncology Education Program educates primary care physicians in Texas on the lifetime screening guidelines for the early detection of cancer and carries out the recommendations of the Texas Cancer Plan regarding physician education. On the Web site,, you can access a PDF version of the new Tobacco Cessation Pocket Guide, which instructs physicians on providing interventions in five steps: ask, advise, assess, assist, and arrange. It also features information on nicotine replacement therapies. Scroll down to Information by Topic, and select Tobacco. 

American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society strongly advocates prevention, as well as advice and support from health care professionals to help their smoking patients kick the habit. From the home page,, scroll down to Resources for Healthy Living, and select Tobacco and Cancer from the drop-down menu. Click on Health Professionals to be directed to information on educating patients about the dangers of smoking and finding a quit hotline. You also can download free brochures about quitting for your patients.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requires acute care hospitals to report the provision of smoking cessation counseling through administrative or medical record data. Physicians and other health care professionals can learn more about smoking cessation counseling documentation, sessions, and coverage information by visiting the CMS Web site,, and downloading the "Smoking and Tobacco-Use Cessation Counseling Services" brochure. From the home page, click on MLN Products. Next, click on Preventive Services, and scroll to the Downloads portion of the page, where you'll select an Educational Product PDF. Click on the title to download the brochure.

Partnership for Prevention
Committed to preventing disease and promoting sound health policies, the Partnership for Prevention Web site,, has an entire section devoted to Tobacco Use. Click on the link on the left side of the home page, and you'll be directed to smoking prevention resources. Among them is a Tobacco Cessation Counseling document detailing the health impact and cost effectiveness of counseling and other effective clinical preventive services. You can also read testimony for the Interim Health and Welfare Committee regarding Medicaid coverage of tobacco cessation counseling and treatment.

Texas Department of State Health Services
The Clinical Toolkit for Treating Tobacco Dependence available on the Texas Department of State Health Services' Web site,, features resources to support your clinic's tobacco intervention efforts and quick guides for the busy practitioner. Select Clinical Toolkit from the navigation bar on the left of the screen to download individual toolkit files and to print patient brochures on quitting. Additionally, clinic staff members can help implement a system that ensures tobacco use is assessed and documented for every patient visit.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The tobacco cessation section of the Web site of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,, is packed with the latest information to help health care professionals treat tobacco use and dependence. The Consumer Materials answer questions patients may have about quitting smoking and address the process involved. Information for clinicians to help smokers quit and treating dependence also are available. Health care professionals can look at surgeon general reports, press releases, and speeches about tobacco-related health disparities, the effects of secondhand smoke, and a review of tobacco harm reduction.

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest to Texas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site. If you know of some interesting medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, email Crystal Conde . Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.  

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