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This statement summarizes the current U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation on counseling to prevent tobacco use and tobacco-caused disease and the supporting scientific evidence, and updates the 1996 recommendation contained in the Guide to Clinical Preventive Services, Second Edition.
|The information found here is current for children and adolescents. This recommendation has been updated in part for adults and pregnant women. Go to http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspstbac2.htm to view the new recommendation for adults and pregnant women, published in April 2009.|
Summary of Recommendations
Recommendations of Others
Members of the Task Force
Contact the Task Force
|Task Force Ratings
Strength of Recommendations and Quality of Evidence
Corresponding Author: Alfred O. Berg, M.D., M.P.H., Chair, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, c/o Project Director, USPSTF, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850.
Brief tobacco cessation counseling interventions, including screening, brief counseling (3 minutes or less), and/or pharmacotherapy, have proven to increase tobacco abstinence rates, although there is a dose-response relationship between quit rates and the intensity of counseling. Effective interventions may be delivered by a variety of primary care clinicians.
The "5-A" behavioral counseling framework provides a useful strategy for engaging patients in smoking cessation discussions:
- Ask about tobacco use.
- Advise to quit through clear personalized messages.
- Assess willingness to quit.
- Assist to quit.
- Arrange followup and support.
Helpful aspects of counseling include providing problem-solving guidance for smokers to develop a plan to quit and to overcome common barriers to quitting and providing social support within and outside of treatment. Common practices that complement this framework include motivational interviewing, the 5 R's used to treat tobacco use (relevance, risks, rewards, roadblocks, repetition), assessing readiness to change, and more intensive counseling and/or referrals for quitters needing extra help.1-3 Telephone "quit lines" have also been found to be an effective adjunct to counseling or medical therapy.4
Clinics that implement screening systems designed to regularly identify and document a patient's tobacco use status increased their rates of clinician intervention, although there is limited evidence for the impact of screening systems on tobacco cessation rates.5
FDA-approved pharmacotherapy that has been identified as safe and effective for treating tobacco dependence includes several forms of nicotine replacement therapy (i.e., nicotine gum, nicotine transdermal patches, nicotine inhaler, and nicotine nasal spray) and sustained-release bupropion. Other medications, including clonidine and nortriptyline, have been found to be efficacious and may be considered.
Augmented pregnancy-tailored counseling (e.g., 5-15 minutes) and self-help materials are recommended for pregnant smokers, as brief interventions are less effective in this population. There is limited evidence to evaluate the safety or efficacy of pharmacotherapy during pregnancy. Tobacco cessation at any point during pregnancy can yield important health benefits for the mother and the baby, but there are limited data about the optimal timing or frequency of counseling interventions during pregnancy.
There is little evidence addressing the effectiveness of screening and counseling children or adolescents to prevent the initiation of tobacco use and to promote its cessation in a primary care setting, but clinicians may use their discretion in conducting tobacco-related discussions with this population, since the majority of adult smokers begin tobacco use as children or adolescents.
Tobacco use, cigarette smoking in particular, is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, resulting in 440,000 deaths annually.6 Smoking has been attributed to over 155,000 deaths annually from neoplasms, 80,000 deaths annually from ischemic heart disease, and over 17,000 deaths annually from cerebrovascular disease. Smoking also affects health outcomes of people other than the smokers, with smoking during pregnancy resulting in the deaths of about 1,000 infants annually. Significant risks associated with smoking during pregnancy include premature births, spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, and intrauterine growth retardation. Additionally, environmental tobacco smoke contributes to the deaths of an estimated 38,000 people annually from lung cancer and heart disease.7
There is good quality evidence that smoking cessation lowers the risk for heart disease, stroke, and lung disease.8,9 However, despite smoking's established risks and the health benefits of quitting, 23 percent of adults in the United States continue to smoke10 and more than 2,000 adolescents become regular tobacco users daily.11 Nearly 90 percent of smokers start by age 18, and 25 percent of teen smokers remain addicted as adults.12 Because 70 percent of smokers see a physician each year,5 clinicians have a unique opportunity to intervene.
The USPSTF found good quality evidence examining the efficacy of various levels of intensity of tobacco cessation counseling by clinicians based on a meta-analysis of 43 studies.5 Compared with no intervention, minimal counseling, lasting less than 3 minutes, has been shown to increase overall tobacco abstinence rates. Increasing session length and frequency increased efficacy in a dose-response manner.5 There is limited evidence to determine the optimal duration and periodicity of tobacco counseling interventions.
A meta-analysis of 7 studies found that abstinence rates were higher (16.8 percent vs 6.6 percent) for pregnant smokers receiving pregnancy-tailored counseling and self-help materials compared with pregnant smokers receiving brief counseling or "usual care."5
The USPSTF found limited evidence of the efficacy of counseling children or adolescents in the clinical primary care setting, but found that school- and classroom-based smoking cessation programs may be more effective than no intervention among tobacco users who attend these programs.13 As with tobacco cessation programs for adults in the community setting, programs with a greater number of counseling sessions and increasing intensity of followup had higher quit rates.14
Several FDA-approved pharmacotherapies have been identified as safe and effective in helping adults to quit smoking. Nicotine products, including nicotine gum, transdermal patch, nicotine nasal spray, and nicotine inhaler, have all been studied in comparison with placebo. There are good quality studies to support the abstinence rates among people who use these products compared with those who do not: 18 to 31 percent versus 10 to 17 percent.5 (Although nicotine lozenges are currently available, at the time of this review they were not FDA-approved and therefore not included in this recommendation statement.) There are fair quality studies showing that combining the nicotine patch with either the gum or nasal spray is more efficacious than using a single form of nicotine replacement therapy alone.15,16 Sustained-release bupropion has been shown to be efficacious compared with placebo, with an estimated cessation rate of 23 percent to 38 percent compared with 17 percent.17,18 Other pharmacotherapies, including clonidine and nortriptyline, have been shown to result in higher smoking cessation rates when compared with placebo, although their use may be limited by side effects.5 There is little evidence on the safety and efficacy of tobacco cessation pharmacotherapy for the pregnant woman, the fetus, or the nursing mother and child.19 Therefore, pharmacotherapy for pregnant women may be considered when the likelihood of quitting and its potential benefits outweighs the risks of the therapy and continued smoking. Likewise, there is little evidence on the safety and efficacy of tobacco cessation pharmacotherapy in children or adolescents.
There is good evidence supporting the effectiveness of community and population-based approaches to reducing environmental tobacco smoke (e.g., tobacco price increases, clean indoor air laws, anti-tobacco media campaigns); many of these interventions are especially effective among adolescent populations.4 However, in the clinical setting, limited studies with mixed results address the effect of parental counseling on reducing second-hand smoke exposure of children and reducing parental smoking rates.20-22 Future research is required to define the effectiveness of screening, counseling, and pharmacotherapy for children, adolescents, and their parents in the primary care setting.
Recommendations of Others
The Public Health Service guideline can be accessed at: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/tobacco/smokesum.htm. Tobacco-related recommendations from the CDC Guide to Community Preventive Services can be accessed at: http://www.thecommunityguide.org/tobacco.
Policies of the American Academy of Family Physicians can be accessed at: http://www.aafp.org/x7112.xml. Recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics relating to tobacco can be accessed at: http://www.aap.org/policy/re0041.html, http://www.aap.org/policy/re9716.html, and http://www.aap.org/policy/re9801.html. Recommendations of the Canadian Task Force can be accessed at: http://www.ctfphc.org
1. Miller W, Rolnick S. Motivational Interviewing: Preparing People to Change Addictive Behavior. New York: Guilford, 1991.
2. Anderson JE, Jorenby DE, Scott WJ, Fiore MC. Treating tobacco use and dependence: an evidence-based clinical practice guideline for tobacco cessation. Chest 2002;121(3):932-41.
3. Prochaska JO, Velicer WF. The transtheoretical model of health behavior change. Am J Health Promot 1997;12(1):38-48.
4. CDC. Strategies for reducing exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, tobacco-use cessation, and reducing initiation in communities and health-care systems. A report on recommendations of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services. MMWR 2000:49(No. RR-12);1-11.
5. Fiore MC, Bailey WC, Cohen SJ, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence. Rockville MD: Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 2000.
6. CDC. Annual smoking-attributable mortality, years of potential life lost, and economic costs-United States, 1995-1999. MMWR 2002;51:300-3.
7. National Cancer Institute. Health Effects of Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke: the Report of the California Environmental Protection Agency. Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph 10. Bethesda MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, 1999.
8. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Benefits of Smoking Cessation: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville MD: Department of Health and Human Services, 1990.
9. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Guide to Clinical Preventive Services, Second Edition. Washington, DC: Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; 1996.
10. CDC. Prevalence of Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults and Changes in Prevalence of Current and Some Day Smoking-United States, 1996-2001. MMWR 2003;52:303-7.
11. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Office of Applied Studies, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 1999-2001.
12. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Preventing Tobacco Use among Young People. A report to the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, CDC, NCCDPH, Office on Smoking and Health. 1994.
13. Sussman S, Lichtman K, Ritt A, Pallonen UE. Effects of thirty-four adolescent tobacco use cessation and prevention trials on regular users of tobacco products. Subst Use Misuse 1999;34(11):1469-503.
14. Stanton WR, Smith KM. A critique of evaluated adolescent smoking cessation programs. J Adoles 2002; 25:427-38.
15. Fagerstrom KO. Combined use of nicotine replacement products. Health Values 1994;18(3):15-20.
16. Fagerstrom KO. Effectiveness of nicotine patch and nicotine gum as individual versus combined treatments for tobacco withdrawal symptoms. Psychopharmacology 1993;111:271-7.
17. Hurt RD, Sachs DP, Glover ED, et al. A comparison of sustained-release bupropion and placebo for smoking cessation. N Engl J Med 1997;337(17):1195-202.
18. Jorenby DE, Leischow S, Nides M, et al. A controlled trial of sustained-release bupropion, a nicotine patch, or both for smoking cessation. N Engl J Med 1999;340(9):685-91.
19. Wisborg K, Henriksen TB, Jespersen LB, Secher NJ. Nicotine patches for pregnant smokers: a randomized controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol 2000;96(6):967-71.
20. Wall MA, Severson HH, Andrews JA, Lichtenstein E, Zoref L. Pediatric office-based smoking intervention: impact on maternal smoking and relapse. Pediatrics 1995;96(4 Pt 1):622-8.
21. Groner JA, Ahijevych K, Grossman LK, Rich LN. The impact of a brief intervention on maternal smoking behavior. Pediatrics 2000;105(1 Pt 3):267-71.
22. Severson HH, Andrews JA, Lichtenstein E, Wall M, Akers L. Reducing maternal smoking and relapse: long-term evaluation of a pediatric intervention. Prev Med 1997;26(1):120-30.
Members of the Task Force
Members of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force* are Alfred O. Berg, M.D., M.P.H., Chair, USPSTF (Professor and Chair, Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA); Janet D. Allan, Ph.D., R.N., C.S., F.A.A.N., Vice-chair, USPSTF (Dean, School of Nursing, University of Maryland Baltimore, Baltimore, MD); Paul Frame, M.D. (Tri-County Family Medicine, Cohocton, NY, and Clinical Professor of Family Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY); Charles J. Homer, M.D., M.P.H. (Executive Director, National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality, Boston, MA); Mark S. Johnson, M.D., M.P.H. (Professor of Family Medicine, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ); Jonathan D. Klein, M.D., M.P.H. (Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, NY); Tracy A. Lieu, M.D., M.P.H. (Associate Professor, Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA); C. Tracy Orleans, Ph.D. (Senior Scientist and Senior Program Officer, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, NJ); Jeffrey F. Peipert, M.D., M.P.H. (Director of Research, Women and Infants' Hospital, Providence, RI); Nola J. Pender, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N. (Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI); Albert L. Siu, M.D., M.S.P.H. (Professor of Medicine, Chief of Division of General Internal Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY); Steven M. Teutsch, M.D., M.P.H. (Senior Director, Outcomes Research and Management, Merck & Company, Inc., West Point, PA); Carolyn Westhoff, M.D., M.Sc. (Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Professor of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY); and Steven H. Woolf, M.D., M.P.H. (Professor, Department of Family Practice and Department of Preventive and Community Medicine and Director of Research Department of Family Practice, Virginia Commonwealth University, Fairfax, VA).
* Member of the USPSTF at the time this recommendation was finalized. For a list of current Task Force members, go to http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/about.htm.
Contact the Task Force
Address correspondence to: Chair, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force; c/o Project Director, USPSTF; 540 Gaither Road; Rockville, MD 20850.
This statement summarizes the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations on counseling to prevent tobacco use and tobacco-caused disease. It updates the 1996 recommendations contained in the Guide to Clinical Preventive Services, Second Edition.
The complete information on which this statement is based, including evidence tables and references, is available in the Public Health Service (PHS) "Clinical Practice Guideline: Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence." The USPSTF recommendation and PHS clinical practice guideline on this topic are available through the USPSTF Web site (http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org) and through the National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (http://www.guideline.gov).
Current as of November 2003
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Counseling to Prevent Tobacco Use and Tobacco-Related Diseases: Recommendation Statement. November 2003. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/3rduspstf/tobacccoun/tobcounrs.htm