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Wednesday Mar 21, 2012

Office Champions Project is Opportunity for FP Offices to Improve Smoking Cessation Efforts

You probably know that cigarettes are the leading cause of preventable death in this country, contributing to roughly 443,000 -- or one in five -- deaths each year. Staggering, but not surprising when you consider than nearly one in five U.S. adults smokes, and high school seniors are close behind at nearly 19 percent.

What you might not know is what a huge difference you can make. In fact, talking to your patients about quitting tobacco is one of the most effective prevention activities that family physicians can do in their offices. According to the surgeon general, 70 percent of smokers want to quit. And patients who are advised to stop smoking by their physicians have a 66 percent higher rate of success in doing so.

The AAFP is doing its part to help family physicians be even more successful with tobacco cessation by offering you effective tools with our successful Office Champions Tobacco Cessation project. Based on the Academy's evidence-based Ask and Act smoking cessation program, the Office Champions quality improvement project trains a physician or staff member to identify and implement changes that promote the integration of tobacco cessation activities into daily office routines.

We know the program can be successfully implemented in busy family medicine offices. In fact, last year, 49 primary care practices completed a 13-month pilot project and successfully implemented 85 percent of the tools (e.g., quit-smoking posters, patient education materials and other Academy resources) they had included in their implementation plans. Ninety-eight percent of practices expressed confidence that the changes they made could be sustained.

Office Champions is a proven way to increase awareness about tobacco cessation in your practice. It also helps you identify who needs help. In the pilot, the percentage of patient charts with documentation of tobacco use status increased from 82.1 percent to 90.2 percent. Documentation that patients were offered cessation assistance increased from less than 50 percent to 72.1 percent.

Now the Academy is recruiting 50 family medicine practices -- with an emphasis on states with a smoking prevalence of more than 20 percent -- for nationwide dissemination of the Office Champions project.

Practices that complete the program will receive $2,000 to cover administrative costs. The deadline to apply is May 8. Applications and additional information are available online

Together, we can make a difference.

Jeffrey Cain, M.D., of Denver, is president-elect of the AAFP. He is the chief of family medicine at Children’s Hospital Colorado and an associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He also is a co-founder of Tar Wars¸ the Academy's award-winning, tobacco-free education program for children.

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The opinions and views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the opinions and views of the American Academy of Family Physicians. This blog is not intended to provide medical, financial, or legal advice. All comments are moderated and will be removed if they violate our Terms of Use.