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Feature Article

Smoking cessation: the heart of the matter

Matthew Peters, Hosen Kiat

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Abstract

Asking about smoking status, advising cessation, assessing dependency and preparedness to quit, assisting the quit attempt and arranging follow up are
the basic steps of the intervention that will give the greatest cardiovascular benefits in smokers.

Key Points

  • For current smokers, smoking cessation has greater benefits in terms of cardiovascular risk reduction than any other intervention.
  • The aim should be complete cessation rather than smoking reduction, although smoking reduction does have a role in smokers with features of high dependency.
  • Most people who are regular smokers are dependent on cigarettes and the smoking process. They are not simply addicted to nicotine.
  • GPs should actively engage in their patients’ quit attempts. The so-called 5 A’s – Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist and Arrange follow up – provide a useful general practice framework for smoking cessation.
  • If one or more quit attempts have been unsuccessful, a smoking cessation treatment should be recommended.

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