Gaps in Smoking Discussions Between Clinicians, Patients

Data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) from 2011–2013 identified key demographic and health characteristics related to U.S. cigarette smokers age ≥18 who had a healthcare professional talk to them about their smoking.

Prior studies have shown that most smokers desire to quit and that even a simple talk from physicians has a positive effect on rate of cessation. Recommendations such as screening and identification of smokers by clinicians and healthcare delivery systems, as well as intervention and guidance on quitting have been emphasized by both federal and nonprofit agencies.

However, key findings from the report showed:

  • About one-half of adult cigarette smokers (51.2%) had a physician or other healthcare professional talk to them about their smoking in the past 12 months.
  • Men, younger adults, Hispanic adults, and non-Hispanic Asian adults were less likely than other cigarette smokers to have had a healthcare professional talk to them about their smoking.
  • Healthier smokers, younger smokers, and those who did not smoke cigarettes every day were less likely than other cigarette smokers to have had a healthcare professional talk to them about their smoking.

RELATED: Lowest Rate of Cigarette Smoking Among Adults Recorded

In addition, cigarette smokers with selected health conditions linked to smoking were more likely than those without these conditions to have had a health professional talk to them about their smoking. Specifically, more than 75% of those who had diabetes or a smoking-related cancer had a physician or healthcare professional talk to them about their smoking in the past 12 months vs. the 50% of smokers without these conditions. Close to 70% of smokers with respiratory or cardiac conditions were talked to about their smoking vs. <50% of smokers without these conditions.

The report shows that cigarette smokers have different experiences regarding healthcare professionals talking to them about their smoking. It also reveals the gaps in applying the recommendations for the screening of cigarette smokers by healthcare professionals.

For more information visit CDC.gov.

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