Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013
This Week's News
This Week's News
Smoking claims 10 years, targets men and women equally, studies find
Two new studies measure the toll smoking takes on Americans' health and demonstrate that male and female smokers alike can expect to live shorter lives than their nonsmoking peers.
The first study, published Jan. 24 in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that smokers who were 25 to 79 years old were three times as likely to die as a person who never smoked. Diseases attributable to smoking accounted for 60 percent of smokers' deaths.
At the same time, those who quit smoking generally added back years to their lives. The study showed that smokers who quit between the ages of 25 and 34 lived 10 years longer than their peers who continued smoking. Even those who quit between the ages of 55 and 64 lived four years longer.
The second study, published in the same issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at smoking in the United States over 50 years. While female smokers were previously less likely to die from smoking-related diseases, contemporary female smokers are equally at risk as their male counterparts.
Physicians can help their patients quit smoking with help from AMA resources. The AMA's Healthier Life Steps® program, for instance, provides tracking calendars and action plans to keep patients on track for achieving such healthy lifestyle goals as smoking cessation and physical activity.
An online continuing medical education (CME) newsletter from the AMA offers an issue on treating tobacco dependence. Physicians who complete the activity will learn how to determine a patient's level of dependence, assess his or her readiness to quit and identify evidence-based pharmacologic treatments.
For physicians treating special patient populations, such as those with a mental illness or substance use disorder, an online CME training module offers practical strategies to help address tobacco dependence.
In addition, physicians who wish to become advocates for tobacco control policies in their communities can attend the 2013 Protecting Children and Families from Tobacco Leadership Advocacy Training program, April 26-27 in Washington, D.C. Applications are due Thursday. Visit the conference Web page to learn more.