Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Doctors Lack Smoking Cessation Training

Here's a new story I found yesterday at Forbes.com (click the headline above for the full story). This is no surprise. Doctors have been trained to do many things with a high degree of skill, but helping people quit smoking is not one of them.

"It found that 87 percent to 93 percent of doctors and other health-care workers receive less than five hours of training on tobacco dependence," says a study at the North Shore-LIJ Health System Center for Tobacco Control in Great Neck, N.Y.

This is especially important to recognize, as many people put the utmost faith and trust in their doctors when it comes to anything related to their health. As for their "training," the less than five hours could be anything from 0.0 hours up to 4.99. It means that many of them receive absolutely no training at all.

"They surveyed 322 prescribers (physicians, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants) and 278 nonprescribers (pharmacists, registered nurses, social workers, counselors, respiratory therapists, and students)."

The best luck a person will likely have in seeking assistance from one's doctor is that he will prescribe a form of nicotine replacement like the patch, gum or lozenges... or perhaps he'll prescribe a drug like wellbutrin.

This is what doctors are trained to do.

To their credit, many doctors continually recommend that their patients quit smoking, lose weight and exercise more. The understand that taking a proactive approach is the most effective way to stay healthy. "An apple a day," as the saying goes.

However, there's a big difference between making recommendations and actually teaching someone how to make such significant changes. I can recommend you go to the dentist, but I can't do the root canal myself. I'm not trained for it. Likewise, doctors can recommend you quit smoking, but they can't help you quit.

Many people lack faith in practitioners of alternative therapies because they lack the fancy credentials awarded by esteemed institutions. It's important to consider the background and training of anyone in whom you're going to place your trust, especially with regard to your health.

However, it has been my experience that many people who have been stuck in one form of therapy or another for years (and years), whether with a psychiatrist, psychologist or other state-licensed counselor, have noticed little or no positive change.

After all of these "official" therapies fail, they call a hypnotherapist. Quite often, they notice benefits immediately -- actual changes in thought, feeling and behavior.

If you have a broken arm, see a doctor. If you have a toothache, see a dentist. If you want to stop smoking, lose weight or banish a phobia, see a hypnotherapist.

It's what we're trained to do.


Anonymous said...

Today is my last day as a smoker. I'm using the latest miracle drug for smoking cessation called Chantix . Instead of trying to wean me off nicotine, it makes my brain stop "appreciating" nicotine. The plan is that I start taking the pills a week before my target quit date, which I did, and I already noticed a difference. I've been smoking substantially fewer cigarettes each day. (I used to smoke almost exactly a pack a day.) http://www.chantixhome.com/

Sean Wheeler said...

The above comment is clearly an advertisement. Click the link and you'll immediately land on a website where you can purchase Chantix.

For those of you actually considering using Chantix, click this link to see the data linking the drug to more than 50 cases of suicide (as of November 2007).