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Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Jan 15;20(2):301-9. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-2261. Epub 2014 Jan 16.

"Quitting smoking will benefit your health": the evolution of clinician messaging to encourage tobacco cessation.

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Authors' Affiliations: Yale University School of Medicine; Yale Cancer Center; Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven; Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; McGill University, Montreal; and Queen's University, Kingston, Canada.


Illnesses that are caused by smoking remain as the world's leading cause of preventable death. Smoking and tobacco use constitute approximately 30% of all cancer-related deaths and nearly 90% of lung cancer-related deaths. Thus, improving smoking cessation interventions is crucial to reduce tobacco use and assist in minimizing the burden of cancer and other diseases in the United States. This review focuses on the existing research on framed messages to promote smoking cessation. Consistent with the tenets of prospect theory and recent meta-analysis, gain-framed messages emphasizing the benefits of quitting seem to be preferable when working with adult patients who smoke tobacco products. The evidence also suggests that moderators of treatment should guide framed statements made to patients. Meta-analyses have provided consistent moderators of treatment such as need for cognition, but future studies should further define the specific framed interventions that would be most helpful for subgroups of smokers. In conclusion, instead of using loss-framed statements like "Smoking will harm your health by causing problems like lung and other cancers, heart disease, and stroke," as a general rule, physicians should use gain-framed statements like "Quitting smoking will benefit your health by preventing problems like lung and other cancers, heart disease, and stroke."

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