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Advice from doctor key motivator for many quitting tobacco

Despite 50 years of effort (and a declining rate of tobacco users), tobacco remains among the most costly of health-related issues. By some counts, it causes more than $190 billion per year in health care costs and lost productivity, or about $35 for each pack of cigarettes sold.

Although each year about half of smokers try to quit, success is still elusive for many. Using some of the proven cessation aids improves the chance of success, but many continue to try on their own, without assistance.

Getting advice from a health care provider is a major motivating factor for those who are trying to quit. Brief advice from a physician leads to a spontaneous quit rate of 2 to 4 percent.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that if just 100,000 physicians were to help 10 percent of their patients who smoke to quit, 2 million more Americans per year would stop.

The CareOregon medical record audits look for an assessment of tobacco use at every visit.  The reviewers also look for documentation of the number of patients who are offered options to quit smoking. This practice has been shown to increase both the likelihood of smoking-related discussions between patients and providers and improved smoking cessation rates.

CareOregon has resources for providers to prompt and guide discussions with patients about smoking, including covered benefits, support groups and online resources to help quit: