Tobacco Use Screening and Counseling During Hospital Outpatient Visits Among US Adults, 2005–2010
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Tobacco Use Screening and Counseling During Hospital Outpatient Visits Among US Adults, 2005–2010

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    Prev Chronic Dis
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    Physicians and health care providers play an important role in educating their patients about the health risks of tobacco use and in providing effective cessation interventions. Little is known about these practices in hospital outpatient settings. The objective of the study was to assess the prevalence, correlates, and trends of tobacco use screening and cessation assistance offered to US adults during their hospital outpatient clinic visits.


    Data for aggregated hospital outpatient visits among patients aged 18 years or older (N = 148,727) from the 2005–2010 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey were analyzed. Tobacco use screening was defined as documentation of screening for either current tobacco use (cigarettes, cigars, snuff, or chewing tobacco) or no current use on the patient record form. Tobacco cessation assistance was defined as documentation of either tobacco counseling or cessation medications.


    Tobacco use screening was reported for 63.0% (estimated 271 million visits) of hospital outpatient visits, and cessation assistance was reported for 24.5% (estimated 17.1 million visits) of visits among current tobacco users. From 2005 through 2010, tobacco use screening (P for trend = .06) and cessation assistance (P for trend = .17) did not change significantly.


    From 2005 through 2010, more than one-third of hospital outpatient visits had no screening for tobacco use, and among current tobacco users, only 1 in 4 received any cessation assistance. Health care providers should consistently identify and document their patients’ tobacco use status and provide them with appropriate tobacco cessation assistance. Opportunities also exist to expand the coverage for tobacco cessation.

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