When Hospital Patients Continue to Smoke – NYTimes.com

Although I find it hard to believe, even if I see patients outside my hospital puffing away, it signals just how much an addition smoking is for some. Usually a health crisis (e.g., heart attack, lung cancer) will induce a change, but not always. Quote:

Dr. Regan conceded that there are limits to eliminating smoking during hospital stays. Studies show that even when bans are strictly enforced, determined patients just leave the property to smoke. A helpful option, she said, is to have in place at all hospitals a system that identifies smokers during their admission, so that trained staff can focus attention on helping them deal with cravings and provide cessation treatments.

In his accompanying editorial, Dr. Schroeder of the U.C.S.F. acknowledged the importance of hospital cessation programs. He also pointed out one of the more interesting findings from the study: The intensity of cravings was a better predictor of whether patients would smoke during hospitalization than the number of cigarettes they typically smoked.

“Given the recent trend among smokers to smoke fewer cigarettes,” he wrote, “we will likely be seeing more and more hospitalized smokers who do not experience nicotine withdrawal but who should still be counseled about quitting.”

When Hospital Patients Continue to Smoke – NYTimes.com.

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