Smokers Underutilize Proven Treatment and Services for Quitting, CDC Finds

11/10/2011

Most American adults who smoke wish they could quit, and more than half have tried within the past year, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report says 68.8 percent of current American adult smokers say they want to quit and 52.4 percent of adult smokers tried to quit within the past year. The report says 48.3 percent of smokers who saw a health professional in the past year recalled getting advice to quit and 31.7 percent used counseling and/or medications in the past year. The use of these effective treatments can almost double to triple rates of successfully quitting.

“More than two thirds of smokers want to quit smoking and more than half tried to quit last year,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden. “Smokers who try to quit can double or triple their chances by getting counseling, medicine, or both. Other measures of increasing the likelihood that smokers will quit as they want to include hard-hitting media campaigns, 100 percent smoke-free policies, and higher tobacco prices.”

The analysis is in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report is being published in conjunction with the annual Great American Smokeout, observed this year on November 17. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the Smokeout encourages smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day.

According to the report, making health care settings as well as all workplaces and public places smoke-free offers smokers additional encouragement to help them quit. The report also notes the health care industry can increase successful quit attempts by providing comprehensive insurance coverage with no deductibles or co-payments for cessation treatments and services.

Smokers can get free resources and help quitting by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669) or visiting www.smokefree.gov.

“Quitting smoking is the best thing smokers can do for their health and the health of their families,” said Dr. Tim McAfee, director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “We know that quitting can be challenging, but more than half of Americans who ever smoked have quit and you can too. Talk to your health care provider and call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free help.”

Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease, including cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other lung diseases, in the United States. Smoking and exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke kill an estimated 443,000 Americans each year. For every person who dies from smoking, another 20 people live with a smoking-related disease.

This news release was written by CDC Media Relations.

IHRP editor’s note:

Researchers at the Institute for Health Research and Policy have long studied ways to improve smokers’ success rates for quitting. Current research in this area includes: