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MD Anderson project links smokers to quitlines


Self-identified smokers directly connected to a tobacco-cessation quitline are 13 times more likely to enroll in a treatment program as compared with smokers who are handed a quitline referral card and encouraged to call on their own, according to a news release.

Led by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, a study published online in JAMA Internal Medicine evaluated the efficacy of an Ask-Advise-Connect approach to linking smokers to evidence-based tobacco-cessation treatment. Ask-Advise-Connect, MD Anderson’s collaborative study with the Texas Quitline and Kelsey-Seybold Clinic connects smokers with treatment using their electronic health record, according to the release.

“Approximately 70% of smokers see their primary care physician at least once a year, so healthcare settings provide an ideal infrastructure for linking smokers with cessation treatment,” Jennifer Irvin Vidrine, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Health Disparities Research at MD Anderson and lead investigator on the study, said in the release.

In the study, healthcare staff asked all patients about their smoking status and recorded this information in the EHR. They also gave smokers advice on quitting and offered either a connection or referral to the quitline.

Ten clinics participated in the study in which five clinics implemented Ask-Advise-Connect. The other five clinics implemented a control condition called Ask-Advise-Refer, in which patients were offered a quitline referral card and encouraged to call the quitline on their own.

The smoking status of more than 32,000 patients was assessed and recorded in the EHR, and 3,336 patients reported current smoking, a smoking prevalence of 11.2%, according to the release.

The results indicated that 7.8% of all smokers identified at Ask-Advise-Connect clinics enrolled in treatment with the quitline compared with 0.6% of all smokers identified at Ask-Advise-Refer clinics.


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