Health Survey Data Reveal Lapses in Smoking Cessation Advice


An analysis of the 2010 National Health Interview Survey determined that physicians and dental health professionals are not telling all smokers they see to quit.

An analysis of the 2010 National Health Interview Survey determined that physicians and dental health professionals are not telling all smokers they see to quit.

Despite recommendations from Clinical Practice Guidelines, physicians and dental professionals are not advising all of the current smokers they see to quit, research published in the July 2014 edition of Preventing Chronic Disease suggests.

Slightly more than half of smokers—54.4%­­—who visited a health care provider within a year of the survey reported receiving advice to quit smoking or stop using other types of tobacco. About half of current smokers visiting physicians were advised to quit smoking, but only 11.8% of participants visiting dental professionals received the same advice.

Overall, more than 90% of participants who were advised to quit reported receiving advice from a physician, whereas 13.5% received the advice from a dental professional.

The primary variables were receipt of advice to quit from any health care provider, a physician, or a dentist. The question included dentists, dental hygienists, and physicians, but not pharmacists, Amy Ferketich, PhD, the study’s corresponding author told Pharmacy Times.

“Pharmacists, I believe, are healthcare providers and should be included in the recommendation to provide advice to quit smoking,” she said in an e-mail. “In fact, in a previous study I conducted with physicians, we used videos that were developed by Rx for Change and the University of Wisconsin Treatment Center; one of the videos featured a conversation between a pharmacist and a patient.”

The study used data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey, which collects data related to community health annually. Interviewers trained by the US Bureau of the Census conducted personal household interviews to collect the data.

Researchers analyzed data from 5147 current smokers. Of those, 3612 reported seeing a health care provider within 12 months of the survey.

Further analysis of the research determined that participants who were male, between the ages of 18 and 24 years, Hispanic or Latino, never married, from the Southern region of the United States, uninsured, had no attempts to quit in the preceding 12 months, and smoked only some days were less likely to receive advice to quit smoking from any health care provider. Currently smoking participants who were female; 65 years of age or older; non-Hispanic white; divorced, separated, or widowed; from the Northeast region of the United States; covered by Medicare only; tried to quit in the previous 12 months; or smoked more than half a pack of cigarettes per day were more likely than participants in the same characteristic category to received stop smoking advice from a physician. Meanwhile, dental workers were more likely to advise patients who were male, 45 to 64 years of age, non-Hispanic white, and covered by insurance other than Medicare or Medicaid to quit smoking.

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