Physicians Aren’t Advising Enough Smokers to Quit, Says US Surgeon General

“Forty percent of smokers who see a health provider each year, aren't advised by those health providers to quit.”


In a press conference on Thursday, US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said about two-fifths of smokers are not told by their doctors to quit smoking.

He pointed out that tobacco smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. He also pointed out that smoking cessation could be beneficial at any age.

Dr. Adams said, “40 percent of smokers who see a health provider each year aren’t advised by those health providers to quit.”

The FDA has already approved a few interventions, including certain medications and counseling, to help people quit smoking. However, Dr. Adams, noted, “Two-thirds of smokers who try to quit don’t use FDA-approved medications and counseling.”

The 34th surgeon general mentioned that behavioral counseling has been found effective at quitting smoking. He also mentioned that the FDA has approved seven medications for smoking cessation – five types of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and two prescription drugs, bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix).

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released Dr. Adam’s 700-page report on smoking cessation on Thursday.

He said, “Behavior counseling and FDA approved medications, according to the science compiled in this report, actually double the chance that someone can successfully quit when used in concert. What I want people to take away is we know what works.”

Dr. Adams, who served as the Indiana State Health Commissioner from 2014 to 2017, said, “E-cigarettes are a continually changing and diverse group of products that are used in a variety of ways. Therefore it is difficult to make generalizations about their effectiveness for cessation based on studies of a particular e-cigarette.”

“Now, that said, it is very important that you all understand I’ve heard powerful accounts from individuals who have used e-cigarettes to quit smoking traditional combustible cigarettes, and there are some studies that are actually reviewed in this report documenting that certain types of e-cigarettes may be associated with quitting in some adult smokers,” he continued. “But it’s also important that we use the entire body of available science to guide our current recommendations.”

Dr. Adams went on to say, “I want to be crystal clear — youth use of any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe,” while more research is required. The video of Dr. Adam’s news conference on smoking cessation report is posted on the Twitter.