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Anesthesiology. 2009 Jun;110(6):1223-8. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e3181a5d03e.

Feasibility of tobacco interventions in anesthesiology practices: a pilot study.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.



Abstinence from smoking can improve postoperative outcomes, and surgery is also an excellent opportunity for smokers to permanently quit. One strategy for perioperative tobacco interventions is that anesthesiologists Ask, Advise, and Refer (AAR) -- Ask their patients about tobacco use, Advise them to abstain, and Refer them to resources such as telephone quit-lines. This pilot project determined the feasibility and acceptability of the AAR strategy in anesthesiology practices.


An educational program, including presentations, written materials, and Web-based resources, was developed and disseminated to 14 U.S. anesthesiology practices, representing both academic and private practices, who agreed to implement the AAR strategy as a part of their routine clinical practice. Three months after implementation, a survey was administered to those members of these practices who were instructed in the AAR strategy.


There were 97 respondents (75% response rate). Since the pilot project began, 91%, 79%, and 58% of respondents reported that they frequently or almost always asked, advised, and referred their patients who smoke, respectively. The majority of respondents (56%) agreed that they were responsible for helping patients get the help they need to quit smoking. Most (74%) also agreed that they planned to incorporate the AAR strategy into their routine practice.


These results suggest that the AAR strategy is potentially feasible and well-accepted in anesthesiology clinical practice. Further work will be needed to define whether these practices and attitudes can be sustained and whether they are ultimately effective in modifying perioperative smoking behavior in surgical patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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