Assessment of the Efficiency of Tobacco Cessation Counseling in Primary Care

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Evaluation & the Health Professions


Clinical Practice Guidelines for Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence advocate for using counseling targeted at tobacco users' motivation to quit during each office visit. We evaluate tobacco use screening and counseling interventions delivered during routine periodic health examinations by 44 adult primary care physicians practicing in 22 clinics of a large health system in southeast Michigan. 484 office visits were audio-recorded and transcribed. For this study, current tobacco users (N = 91) were identified using pre-visit surveys and audio-recordings. Transcripts were coded for the delivery of tobacco-related counseling interventions. The extent to which counseling interventions were used and/or targeted to the patients' readiness to quit was the main outcome measure. The majority of tobacco users (n = 77) had their tobacco use status assessed, and most received some sort of tobacco-related counseling (n = 74). However, only 15% received the recommended counseling targeted to their readiness to quit. On the other hand, 19% received less counseling than recommended given their readiness to quit, 7% received only nonindicated counseling, and 59% received nonindicated counseling in addition to indicated counseling. Results illustrate physicians' commitment to cessation counseling and also identify potential opportunities to improve the efficiency of tobacco-related counseling in primary care.

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Aged; Counseling; Female; Guideline Adherence; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Practice Guidelines as Topic; Primary Health Care; Program Evaluation; Smoking Cessation; Tobacco Use Cessation

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