What is included in patient education about nicotine addiction?

Updated: Jul 16, 2018
  • Author: R Gregory Lande, DO, FACN; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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All patients who smoke should receive education regarding the health effects of smoking. Patients should be provided with a variety of options and a range of advice that will allow them to escape the harmful effects of tobacco use and the addiction to nicotine.

Family education should be a primary recommendation every clinician undertakes in an effort to reduce teen smoking. Preliminary results from well-designed randomized controlled studies suggest that family interventions can reduce teen smoking. [25]

School-based smoking prevention programs educate students about tobacco use. Although such programs are widely seen in school curricula, the scientific evidence supporting their utility is limited. [26]

Both print and visual media are saturated with antismoking messages. A systematic review of the scientific literature shows that such messages have only a weak impact on smoking rates. [27]

Work-based smoking cessation programs that provide both behavioral treatment and medication support can be effective interventions with good quit rates. [28]

Naturally, many patients quit smoking on their own. (These probably would not be the typical patients seen in the office in the precontemplative or contemplative stage of change.) Such patients may be referred to various self-help materials (eg, books or pamphlets). The evidence that self-help materials lead to smoking cessation when used as the sole treatment strategy is weak. [29] Such materials are probably better used as tools to encourage personal education and to facilitate later dialogue between the clinician and the patient.

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