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Brief advice to quit from a primary care physician during a routine consultation increases the number of smokers stopping for at least 6 months.

Brief advice from a physician has been shown in meta-analyses of over 20 trials to increase the number of smokers who quit. This effect could be due both to prompting new quit attempts and helping existing quit attempts. Although the absolute effect is small (1–3%), this intervention can have a significant public health impact because, in many countries, a large majority of smokers visit their physician each year. It is important that physicians keep up-to-date records of the smoking status of all their patients, advise ALL smokers to stop on a regular basis and where possible offer them assistance with doing so, and repeat this advice as needed. Where behavioural support programmes and medications are available these should be routinely offered.

Clinical Practice Guideline Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence 2008 Update Panel, Liaisons, and Staff. A clinical practice guideline for treating tobacco use and dependence: 2008 update. A U.S. Public Health Service report. Am J Prev Med. 2008; 35: 158-176.

Fiore MC, Jaén CR, Baker TB, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. May 2008.

Stead LF, Buitrago D, Preciado N, Sanchez G, Hartmann-Boyce J, Lancaster T. Physician advice for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD000165. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000165.pub4.

Aveyard P, Begh R, Parsons A, West R. Brief opportunistic smoking cessation interventions: a systematic review and meta-analysis to compare advice to quit and offer of assistance. Addiction. 2012; 107: 1066-73. logo
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