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Physicians and nurses carry a lot of authority with their patients. Smoking cessation is one of those areas. If a physician is a little hesitant to address smoking by his or her patients, they should know that the same was true years ago regarding drinking and using. Now, it is common for recovering alcoholics/addicts to state, “My doctor is the reason I am in recovery...”

The same can be true regarding smoking. It must be addressed with authority and confidence that smoking and other uses of tobacco are treatable addictions. Resources for information, treatment and ongoing recovery need to be available in physicians offices, not in a pile on a table in the waiting room, but better handed from doctor to patient directly.

Nurses are becoming practitioners in areas where their counseling skills are used to good advantage by the medical office. Counseling/educational support groups can be set up in medical offices. CPT codes are available for billing. Volunteer agencies (ACS and the American Lung Association have wonderful materials available) The Order Form makes a good stand alone flyer.

"I DON'T SMOKE" CAN SERVE AS A TREATMENT PLAN AND/OR AN AFTERCARE PLAN...

Be a Part of the Solution...

Suggested First Steps

THESE ARE POWERFUL AWARENESS STEPS

Perhaps, do no more than physically mark the outside of the smokers medical record; list nicotine addiction on the problem list; code out the inside of the patients/clients chart with whatever DSM-IV designation(s) are appropriate:

  • 305.90 Nicotine Dependence

  • 292.9 Nicotine related disorders

  • 292.0 Nicotine withdrawal

  • Issue a copy of "I Don't Smoke!” It can be used for private study by the patients/clients

  • Train staff on the concepts and tasks of recovery used in the book.

Integrate the concepts and tasks into treatment plans:

  • Reading assignments can be given out.

  • Checklists in the book are good for Group and Nicotine Anonymous discussions.

  • Use the “Dear John” letter and “The Funeral” as experiential group exercises. Smokers and non-smokers benefit by saying goodbye to their addictions.

  • Build appropriate parts of the aftercare plan from the book per the therapist’s directions.

  • There are many additional ideas in the book

Or simply give a copy to the patient upon discharge and so note in their record. Or place the book in your bookstore. Whatever you do can add to what is presently being done for nicotine addiction in your facility.

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