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Treating Patients Who Use Tobacco at a Teachable Moment

Commenting on a cluster-randomized trial in which nicotine-replacement products were offered to smokers during screenings for lung cancer, an editorialist describes such events as not just a teachable moment but also a treatable one. “The low rate of offering nicotine dependence pharmacotherapy to patients who smoke results in many missed opportunities for the improvement of both cessation rates and health outcomes,” writes the author. “That is the reason that it is so important that we start making every lung cancer screening, ICU stay, surgery, and any other encounter a treatable moment and not just a teachable one.”

“Nicotine dependence is more than just a behavior, and teaching about a chronic disease can only go so far if the disease is not also being managed,” the author writes. “Having a large variety of resources available to assist with smoking cessation can be meaningful but garners less weight if they are not deployed effectively. A lack of knowledge by practitioners and lack of institutional culture and resources devoted to nicotine dependence treatment are likely among the main barriers to improving smoking cessation rates.”

Source: Chest