Updated Guidelines released
Today the United States Public Health Service released updated Guidelines for Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence. The Guidelines make recommendations on how best to treat tobacco dependence and integrate treatment into health care delivery. The authors of the Guidelines reviewed over 8700 studies that have been conducted in the 8 years since the release of the last guidelines and the recommendations are based upon the evidence from these studies.
Some of the recommendations are that tobacco dependence should be treated like other chronic illnesses like hypertension or diabetes. Each patient should be asked about tobacco use at every visit to a health-care provider and appropriate help in quitting should be provided to any person who does use tobacco.
The guidelines also recommend that both counseling and medication are important for helping people to quit. Increasing time a person spends in counseling results in better quit rates and medication should be provided that will help each patient to manage cravings and withdrawal.
You can find the complete guidelines and shorter versions for smokers or clinicians, and health insurers at this website http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/tobacco.
Dr. Richard D. Hurt is an internationally recognized expert on tobacco dependence. A native of Murray, Kentucky, he joined Mayo Clinic in 1976 and is now a Professor of Medicine at its College of Medicine. In 1988, he founded the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and since then its staff has treated over 33,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org