November 2007

Talking to Patients About Smoking Cessation

Steven Schroeder, M.D.
Distinguished Professor of Health and Health Care, General Internal Medicine
Director of the UCSF Smoking Cessation Leadership Center

Because 44 million Americans still smoke,allcliniciansinevitably encounter smoking patients in their practices. However, many clinicians don't talk with their patients about smoking for a variety of reasons.

There are a number of free and effectively proven tools you can easily refer to patients to help them quick the habit, such as smoking cessation quit-lines and online cessation links. It takes less than one minute to refer patients to these resources and it may be the most effective thing you can do to save their life. It's easy, free and painless.

Why Send a Patient To a Quitline

  • Though still a well-kept secret, studies show that smoking cessation quit-lines are extremely effective. With repeated sessions, a large California study found that quit-lines helped smokers quit at the rate of 27 percent (12 month abstinence rate).
  • The success rate among quitters doubles if they use a quit-line compared with quitting on their own.
  • Even a 2 percent increase in cessation rates would translate to 640,000 fewer total smokers per year (based on the 32.2 million smokers who reported wanting to quit).

For more information, contact the Physician Referral Service at UCSF Medical Center:

Phone (888) 689-UCSF or (888) 689-8273

Other Resources

UCSF Smoking Cessation Leadership Center
Tobacco Education Center of UCSF Medical Center
Thoracic Ongology