H-490.917 Physician Responsibilities for Tobacco Cessation  

Next Policy | Previous Policy
H-490.917 Physician Responsibilities for Tobacco Cessation

H-490.917 Physician Responsibilities for Tobacco Cessation


Cigarette smoking is a major health hazard and a preventable factor in physicians' actions to maintain the health of the public and reduce the high cost of health care. Our AMA takes a strong stand against smoking and favors aggressively pursuing all avenues of educating the general public on the hazards of using tobacco products and the continuing high costs of this serious but preventable problem. Additionally, our AMA supports and advocates for appropriate surveillance approaches to measure changes in tobacco consumption, changes in tobacco-related morbidity and mortality, youth uptake of tobacco use, and use of alternative nicotine delivery systems. In view of the continuing and urgent need to assist individuals in smoking cessation, physicians, through their professional associations, should assume a leadership role in establishing national policy on this topic and assume the primary task of educating the public and their patients about the danger of tobacco use (especially cigarette smoking). Accordingly, our AMA:

(1) encourages physicians to refrain from engaging directly in the commercial production or sale of tobacco products;

(2) supports (a) development of an anti-smoking package program for medical societies; (b) making patient educational and motivational materials and programs on smoking cessation available to physicians; and (c) development and promotion of a consumer health-awareness smoking cessation kit for all segments of society, but especially for youth;

(3) encourages physicians to use practice guidelines for the treatment of patients with nicotine dependence and will cooperate with the Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ) in disseminating and implementing evidence-based clinical practice guidelines on smoking cessation, and on other matters related to tobacco and health;

(4) (a) encourages physicians to use smoking cessation activities in their practices including (i) quitting smoking and urging their colleagues to quit; (ii) inquiring of all patients at every visit about their smoking habits (and their use of smokeless tobacco as well); (iii) at every visit, counseling those who smoke to quit smoking and eliminate the use of tobacco in all forms; (iv) prohibiting all smoking in the office by patients, physicians, and office staff; and discouraging smoking in hospitals where they work (v) providing smoking cessation pamphlets in the waiting room; (vi) becoming aware of smoking cessation programs in the community and of their success rates and, where possible, referring patients to those programs; (b) supports the concept of smoking cessation programs for hospital inpatients conducted by appropriately trained personnel under the supervision of a physician;

(5) (a) supports efforts to identify gaps, if any, in existing materials and programs designed to train physicians and medical students in the behavior modification skills necessary to successfully counsel patients to stop smoking; (b) supports the production of materials and programs which would fill gaps, if any, in materials and programs to train physicians and medical students in the behavior modification skills necessary to successfully counsel patients to stop smoking; (c) supports national, state, and local efforts to help physicians and medical students develop skills necessary to counsel patients to quit smoking; (d) encourages state and county medical societies to sponsor, support, and promote efforts that will help physicians and medical students more effectively counsel patients to stop smoking; (e) encourages physicians to participate in education programs to enhance their ability to help patients quit smoking; (f) encourages physicians to speak to community groups about tobacco use and its consequences; and (g) supports providing assistance in the promulgation of information on the effectiveness of smoking cessation programs;

(6) (a) supports the concept that physician offices, clinics, hospitals, health departments, health plans, and voluntary health associations should become primary sites for education of the public about the harmful effects of tobacco and encourages physicians and other health care workers to introduce and support healthy lifestyle practices as the core of preventive programs in these sites; and (b) encourages the development of smoking cessation programs implemented jointly by the local medical society, health department, and pharmacists; and

(7) (a) believes that collaborative approaches to tobacco treatment across all points of contact within the medical system will maximize opportunities to address tobacco use among all of our patients, and the likelihood for successful intervention; and (b) supports efforts by any appropriately licensed health care professional to identify and treat tobacco dependence in any individual, in the various clinical contexts in which they are encountered, recognizing that care provided in one context needs to take into account other potential sources of treatment for tobacco use and dependence. (CSA Rep. 3, A-04; Appended: Res. 444, A-05; Reaffirmed: BOT Rep. 8, A-08; Reaffirmed in lieu of Res. 912, I-12)