Smokers welcome help in quitting when offered at clinic visits

MADISON-According to a study just published in Preventive Medicine, 68 percent of smokers who were offered free cessation treatment at their regular clinics took advantage of the invitation. These results contradict previous research that suggested that smokers are not eager for intervention by their physicians. When offered a choice of treatment, 75 percent of the participants in the study selected counseling in conjunction with nicotine patch medication.

This study, conducted in primary care clinics in Madison and Milwaukee, Wis., by researchers at the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention (CTRI) and the University of Wisconsin Medical School-Milwaukee was designed to assess the acceptance, use and effectiveness of free smoking cessation treatments integrated into routine primary care. With 70 percent of smokers visiting their primary care physicians at least once a year, health care clinics are well-suited sites for tobacco cessation treatment.

"Lack of interest among patients has been cited as a reason for not offering cessation help to smokers," said Michael Fiore, lead researcher and CTRI director. "This study demonstrated convincingly that smokers are interested in getting help to quit. In fact, over two-thirds said, 'Yes' to offers of cessation treatment even when that was not the reason for their doctor visit. And, when offered a choice of treatment, they preferred the most intensive treatment available."

The study was designed to reduce barriers to treatment use by offering free, convenient treatment. Medical assistants at diverse clinics invited smokers to participate in a treatment program involving free nicotine replacement therapy and possible counseling. Recruitment was integrated into the regular clinic routine. Participants simply had to say "yes" when asked if they were interested in receiving cessation treatment to begin enrollment. Participants who enrolled in treatment were assigne

Contact: Gloria Meyer
University of Wisconsin-Madison

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