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Guide helps patients battle smoking

GENERAL practitioners and other health professionals are now even better equipped with a practical, succinct and evidence-based guide to help patients fulfil New Year's resolutions to quit smoking, thanks to an updated smoking cessation resource launched by The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

Professor Nicholas Zwar, chair of the RACGP content advisory group and RACGP spokesman, said smoking still remained the behavioural risk factor responsible for the highest levels of preventable and premature death, despite smoking rates continuing to fall in Australia.

"While smoking rates have steadily declined in Australia, we have not won the battle yet," Prof Zwar said.

"Smoking remains the risk factor with the highest levels of disease - such as lung and other cancers, coronary heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma."

The updated guide, Supporting smoking cessation: a guide for health professionals 2011, incorporates new developments in both the science and practice of cessation support.

"There is good evidence to suggest that smokers are more likely to successfully quit with the help of their GP or other health professionals, including practice nurses.

"We know that spending just a few minutes talking to patients about quitting smoking can lead to behavioural change," Prof Zwar said.

"People keen to kick the habit of smoking in 2012, should make it a priority to speak to their GP about the latest research and medications available to them - a step that may result in increasing life expectancy up to 10 years."



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