Today, November 17th, is the Great American Smokeout—a perfect time for physicians to become reenergized and recommitted to helping our patients quit.
According to the American Cancer Society, 75% of women say they want to stop smoking. However, with one in five Americans still lighting up, the reality is clear: quitting smoking is hard. The average smoker will make several quit attempts before kicking the habit for good. This can be frustrating for the smoker and the physician. But, as ob-gyns, we must remain sensitive and engaged with our patients who attempt to quit smoking.
Pregnant smokers increase their risk of preterm birth, placental abruption, low birth weight, asthma, and SIDS. But quitting early in pregnancy greatly minimizes these risks.
We should make it our business to follow up with patients who have expressed interest in quitting and help them find resources that can improve their chances of success, including medication, support groups, and help lines (such as 800-QUIT-NOW). Studies show that people who use telephone counseling are twice as likely to quit smoking as those who don’t get use this type of intervention. There is even a new smoking cessation app for smart phones to help smokers stay tobacco-free.
Let’s pledge to walk with them along the path to healthier and longer lives.