Maryland's Tobacco Resource Center - Linking Professionals to Best Practices

Recommendations for Treating Smokers in Health Care Setting

October
2011

In a recent article published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Drs. Michael Fiore and Timothy Baker highlight the important role physicians play with regard to encouraging and supporting tobacco cessation among individuals who smoke. Given that a vast majority (70%) of smokers in the U.S. visit a primary care physician each year, physicians are in a ideal position to provide effective interventions to tobacco users.  According to the article, which presents a number of formal guidelines and recommendations for addressing smoking in the health care setting, effective interventions include a combination of FDA-approved cessation medication and counseling (for those who are ready to quit), as well as motivational interviewing and/or “five R’s” counseling (for those who are not ready to quit). The authors suggest that clinicians refer all patients who smoke to the national tobacco-cessation quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) in addition to online smoking-cessation resources (i.e.,www.smokefree.gov).