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Smoking quit rates rise after nurse talk.

A short talk with a knowledgeable nurse could be the difference between a smoker stopping for cigarettes or nicotine gum on his or her way home from the hospital. Research shows that self-reported quit rates among hospital patients more than doubled when nurses and other staff were trained to coach patients on how to stop smoking and to make sure they got the help they needed to make it happen, whether that meant counseling, patches, gum, or prescription medication.

"They were armed with everything they needed when they left--medication, behavioral tactics, a manual to help them stay on track," says Sonia Duffy, professor of nursing at Ohio State University, Columbus, who also works for the Department of Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Health Care System. "Hospitalization is the perfect time to help people quit. They're more motivated and nurses can explain how smoking harms their health, including slowing healing."

Six months after release, 16.5% of the smokers from intervention hospitals said they had quit, compared to 5.7% from other hospitals. The researchers also looked at lab-confirmed quit rates based on urine tests and found a two-fold difference among patients from the intervention hospitals.

Smoking cessation techniques are not routinely taught in nursing schools and counseling on quitting smoking is spotty in U.S. hospitals, Duffy relates. Those smokers who do get counseling do not always hear about it from a nurse and often are referred to the Tobacco Quit Line, which can be effective, but is most frequently used by those who already are highly motivated.

Many smokers, even those who plan to quit, pick smoking right back up the minute they leave the hospital. Getting them started with a quitting plan and tools while they are admitted boosts their chances of success.

"I hope hospital administrators will look beyond telephone quit lines to help people. They work for a select group of people and the rest are falling through the cracks. We have to use a multitude of different approaches to reach people," asserts Duffy.

"Nurses have the greatest access to patients; they have relationships with patients; and they can relate the benefits of quitting to the patient's medical condition."

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Title Annotation:Cigarette Cessation
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2017
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