Both the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute have apps based on behavior change theories, according to Dr. Berg, and some medical practices have staff that have been trained in smoking cessation programs such as the one run by the Mayo Clinic for physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.
Explore This IssueFebruary 2016
While some patients are able to quit cold turkey and others do better with the assistance of quitlines, counseling, and/or medication, some patients require the additional support of smoking cessation treatment programs. The Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center (NDC), in Rochester, Minn., has treated more than 55,000 tobacco users as outpatients, hospital inpatients, or patients in their residential treatment program for tobacco. A 2009 paper on treating tobacco dependence in a medical setting found that for patients at the NDC who received outpatient services, the six-month smoking abstinence rates were reported to range from 22% to 25% (CA Cancer J Clin. 2009;59:314-326). The six-month smoking abstinence rate from hospitalized smokers who received counseling was 32%, and the one-year smoking abstinence rate for patients who entered Mayo Clinic’s residential treatment program was reported to be 52%. A 2011 study found that those who received residential treatment for tobacco dependence had significantly greater odds of six-month smoking abstinence compared with outpatient treatment among smokers in a referral clinic setting (Mayo Clin Proc. 2011;86:203-209).
Other nicotine treatment programs that include individual and group counseling, medications to relieve withdrawal, nutrition counseling, exercise classes, and stress management techniques are Serenity Vista Addiction Recovery Retreat in Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama, Smoking Cessation Wellness Spa Retreat in Tampa Bay, Fla., and St. Helena Center for Health in St. Helena, Calif.
Be Supportive and/or Use Scare Tactics, But Try Not to Judge
Physicians who have never smoked themselves, or who smoked briefly but never became addicted, may find it frustrating to treat seriously ill patients who continue to smoke. Mark W. El-Deiry, MD, FACS, chief of head and neck surgery at Emory University School of Medicine, said both of his grandparents smoked until they passed away and suffered from smoking-related complications, including heart disease and gastrointestinal disease.
“They were both terrific people and I loved them very much,” says Dr. El-Deiry, who has written about smoking and cancer of the larynx. “People who are not addicted to tobacco and nicotine often don’t understand the stranglehold it can place on patients and loved ones, nor the incredible difficulty in quitting.”