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Survey Looks at Smokers and Health Care Providers

Many smokers report negative feelings when discussing smoking with providers

THURSDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- A considerable number of smokers have never discussed smoking with a health care provider, according to the results of a survey from the American Legacy Foundation that was released on April 1.

More than 1,000 adults who currently smoke participated in the national survey. Twenty-one percent said they'd never discussed smoking with a doctor, nurse practitioner or other provider, and 18 percent had discussed it only once. Just over half (52 percent) thought that a health care provider should help them stop smoking.

Fifty-four percent of smokers said they'd had "negative feelings" such as guilt or embarrassment when discussing smoking the last time with a provider, compared to 28 percent who had positive feelings such as motivation, the survey found. In addition, 56 percent reported that the last time they spoke with their health care provider about smoking, the provider did not recommend or prescribe any smoking cessation medications.

"A surprising number of smokers aren't taking advantage of their health care providers' ability to help them quit smoking, and are therefore continuing to put themselves at risk for serious health issues," said Cheryl G. Healton, the foundation's president and CEO, in a prepared statement. "Even more alarming is that when conversations do take place about smoking, patients don't seem to be getting the information they need to begin a successful quit attempt."

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