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Subst Abus. 2009 Apr-Jun;30(2):158-81. doi: 10.1080/08897070902802117.

Efficacy of a brief intervention to improve emergency physicians' smoking cessation counseling skills, knowledge, and attitudes.

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Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Albert Einstein Cancer Center, and Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York, USA.


The objective of this study was to test whether a brief educational/administrative intervention could increase tobacco counseling by emergency physicians (EPs). Pre-/post-study at eight emergency departments (EDs) with residency programs were carried out. EPs received a 1-hour lecture on the health effects of smoking and strategies to counsel patients. After the lecture, cards promoting a national smokers' quitline were placed in EDs, to be distributed by providers. Providers completed pre-/ post-intervention questionnaires. Patients were interviewed pre-/post-intervention to assess provider behavior. Two hundred eighty-seven EPs were enrolled. Post-intervention, providers were more likely to consider tobacco counseling part of their role, and felt more confident in counseling. Data from 1168 patient interviews and chart reviews showed that, post-intervention, providers were more likely to ask patients about smoking, make a referral, and document smoking counseling. Post-intervention, 30% of smokers were given a Quitline referral card. An educational intervention improved ED-based tobacco interventions. Controlled trials are needed to establish these results' durability.

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