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Hospitals better at helping smokers quit

November 7, 2022

A health care system model that offered tobacco cessation treatment to smokers being discharged from a hospital produced a higher rate of tobacco abstinence during the three-month program than referral to a state-based telephone quitline, but the advantage disappeared at six months when both treatments produced comparable quit rates, researchers have found.

In a study in JAMA Internal Medicine, the researchers suggested that extension beyond three months of the health system approach, which includes cessation medication and telephone-based behavioral support, could potentially keep individuals tobacco free.

“Our findings prompt the question of whether continuing smoking cessation past three months — the standard duration of treatment — would sustain the superior results of the health care system model,” said the study’s senior author, Hilary Tindle, MD, MPH, the William Anderson Spickard, Jr., MD, Professor of Medicine and associate professor of Medicine. “It’s possible that more counseling or medication, or both, could generate more engagement with the program and thus better results over time.”

Tindle, the founding director of the Vanderbilt Center for Tobacco, Addiction and Lifestyle, and her team worked with other researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center on the study.