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Doctors Missing Chance To Help Teens Who Smoke

San Diego, CA -- Physicians who treat teenager smokers are missing important opportunities to discourage tobacco use among adolescents, researchers reported Friday.

Anne Thorndike, M.D., and her colleagues from Massachusetts reported that many physicians question their teenage patients about smoking, but few of them offer any advice or help. They presented the findings at the annual meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, a worldwide group of scientists promoting health through understanding smoking prevention and cessation.

The Massachusetts General Hospital researchers analyzed data from an annual survey of a random sample of office-based physicians. Physicians determined the tobacco-use status of more than two-thirds of their teenage patients, but they provided cessation help at only 2 percent of office visits.

Doctors were more likely to discuss smoking with patients with a diagnosis that could be complicated by smoking, such asthma, pregnancy, or respiratory infection. Despite a growing public-health emphasis on the importance of physicians counseling patients about smoking, such physician counseling did not increase through the first half of this decade.


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Contact: Ted Klein
SRNT1@aol.com
212-431-8181
Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco
5-Mar-1999


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