Program may help patients with rheumatic diseases quit smoking

Fitness & Health:

Smoking increases symptoms and health risks for patients with rheumatic diseases, but interventions to help patients quit are rarely available at rheumatology clinics. A study published in Arthritis Care & Research has found that Quit Connect–a protocol involving electronic health record prompts for nurses and medical assistants in rheumatology clinics–can increase electronic referrals to free, state-run tobacco quite lines.

Implementing Quit Connect led to electronic referrals for 71% of patients who were identified as ready to quit, with referrals taking less than 90 seconds for medical staff to complete.

“There’s a huge opportunity to address smoking as a modifiable risk factor in rheumatology patients, and Quit Connect was 26-times more effective than usual care for delivering evidence-based quitline support,” said lead author Christie M. Bartels, MD, MS, of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. “Moreover, Quit Connect leverages free resources available in every state and was cost-effective for quit attempts and cessation.”



World No Tobacco Day takes place on May 31, 2021.

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