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Doctors are more effective in promoting smoking cessation by offering help to all smokers, rather than simply advising smokers to quit and only offering assistance to those who express interest in doing so, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom reviewed 13 studies, and found that while some smokers tried to quit after being advised to by their doctor, they were more successful if their doctor provided help in the form of counseling or nicotine replacement therapy.

Reuters reports that three of the studies suggest providing this extra help could allow an additional 40 to 60 percent of smokers to at least try quitting. According to the article, official guidelines in the United States and the United Kingdom advise doctors to first determine patients’ willingness to quit before offering assistance.

Lead researcher Dr. Paul Aveyard told Reuters doctors may not offer assistance with smoking cessation for several reasons. They may not want to preach to their patients, and they may think they don’t have enough time to counsel smokers about quitting.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 68.8 percent of current smokers want to completely stop smoking, 52.4 percent of smokers had made an attempt to quit in the past year, but only 6.2 percent of smokers had successfully quit within the past year.

The study is published in the journal Addiction.


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