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'PHYSICIAN CHALLENGE PROGRAM' LAUNCHED TO ASSIST PEOPLE WHO WANT TO QUIT SMOKING

 'PHYSICIAN CHALLENGE PROGRAM' LAUNCHED
 TO ASSIST PEOPLE WHO WANT TO QUIT SMOKING
 SAN DIEGO, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- An innovative new program that will provide smoking-cessation tools to family physicians and has the potential to help thousands of people stop smoking was introduced today by Marion Merrell Dow Inc. at the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) 1992 annual assembly in San Diego.
 The "Physician Challenge Program" is a year-long program dedicated to making smoking-cessation counseling easier for physicians. Because of busy schedules and lack of support staff and education materials, doctors are often unable to spend as much time as they would like discussing smoking cessation with their patients. This program, which addresses the needs of both physicians and patients, provides valuable support materials and encourages physicians to help 10 of their patients quit smoking over the next year.
 Physicians who accept the challenge at the program booth this year will be recognized for their commitment to smoking cessation in their local communities and at the 1993 national AAFP Assembly in Orlando, Fla., Oct. 7-10.
 "If only 25 percent of all physicians were able to assist 10 of their patients stop smoking each year, approximately 1.1 million people a year would be smoke-free," said Dr. Stephen Brunton, a program advisor, as well as immediate past president of the Association of Family Practice Residency Directors, clinical professor at the University of California, Irvine, and physician trainer on smoking cessation for the National Cancer Institute. "This program can be a significant contribution to the public health of the nation."
 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says that more than 70 percent of smokers said they would attempt to quit smoking if advised to do so and if assisted by their physicians. According to HHS statistics, patients whose doctors deliver a brief stop-smoking message are two to 10 times more likely to quit than are patients who receive no such advice.
 By making the commitment to helping patients with smoking cessation and signing up for the Challenge program, physicians will receive practical information and self-help materials for patients, including materials from the American Academy of Family Physicians, the National Cancer Institute and other related associations. Additional support materials will be sent to the physicians throughout the year, such as recent studies highlighting the efficacy of physician intervention, articles by smoking-cessation experts, practical tools for the office and patient education materials.
 "Physicians knowledgeable about smoking-cessation can play a major role in helping their patients overcome the difficulties of quitting smoking -- notably the physical addiction, behavioral conditioning and social reinforcement," says Dr. Peter Dietrich, assistant clinical professor of family practice at the University of California, Davis and president of the Yolo County Chapter of the California Academy of Family Physicians. "This program provides the necessary tools to help people end their addiction to nicotine."
 Treatment of the physical nicotine addiction is achieved through nicotine-withdrawal therapy, either in the form of nicotine chewing pieces or the new nicotine transdermal patches, which have been shown to be most effective when used in conjunction with behavioral therapy. Because these two pharmacologic approaches to smoking cessation are only available by prescription, the doctor plays an important role in reinforcing proper use of these products and arranging for follow-up visits with the patient to monitor their progress.
 Individuals who would like to learn more about Physician Challenge Program can call 1-800-935-4555 to obtain program information or sign up for the 1992 Challenge.
 -0- 10/14/92
 /CONTACT: Charles F. Rouse III or Tom Heapes of Marion Merrell Dow Inc., 816-966-4000/ CO: Marion Merrell Dow Inc. ST: California IN: HEA SU:


PS -- NY050 -- 9893 10/14/92 12:54 EDT
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Date:Oct 14, 1992
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