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Campaign Urges Smokers to Enlist Doctors' Help in Quitting

TUESDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- Getting help and advice from a doctor more than doubles the chances that smokers can kick the habit, and U.S. health officials and medical groups are launching a new campaign to make that happen for the nearly 70 percent of smokers who say they want to quit.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has teamed up with five national physician groups to create the "Talk With Your Doctor" campaign. As its name implies, the campaign was established to encourage smokers to ask a doctor for help in quitting. The campaign also calls on doctors to ask their patients if they need help to stop smoking.

"Taking just a few minutes to talk to your patients about smoking can double the odds of them successfully quitting," said Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin in a CDC news release. "As a physician, I know that clinicians and their staff can play an incredibly important role in helping smokers move from thinking about quitting to taking real steps toward successful quitting."

The "Talk With Your Doctor" campaign will combine with the existing "Tips From Former Smokers'' campaign from May 27 through June 2. Ads will appear on national television and online.

"Smokers have told us that hard-hitting, emotionally powerful ads like these provide the motivation they need, and the response to the ads supports that," CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in the news release. "We believe 'Talk With Your Doctor' will amplify and expand the great success of 'Tips' and offer more encouragement for smokers to quit for good. We hope doctors will offer evidence based counseling and medications to all patients who can benefit from them."

As part of this effort, doctors will also be offered educational materials and training on tobacco interventions.

The new campaign involves the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

"I've been a practicing physician who's helped patients quit, and treated some of the terrible diseases in those who didn't quit in time," Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, said in the release. "The message of the 'Tips' campaign and our new 'Talk With Your Doctor' campaign is simple: Quit smoking now. Or better yet, don't start. Studies show that the sooner you quit the better. And there is nothing you can do to add more years to your life than to quit smoking."

Cigarette smoking kills an estimated 440,000 Americans each year, and 43 million Americans are current smokers.

More information

The American Cancer Society provides a guide to quitting smoking.

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, May 22, 2013

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