Efficacy of a brief intervention to improve emergency physicians' smoking cessation counseling skills, knowledge, and attitudes

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Emergency Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Counseling; Curriculum; *Education; *Emergency Medicine; Female; *Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice; Humans; Male; Mass Screening; Middle Aged; Motivation; Physician's Role; Physician-Patient Relations; Referral and Consultation; Smoking; *Smoking Cessation; United States


Emergency Medicine


The objective of this study was to test whether a brief educational/administrative intervention could increase tobacco counseling by emergency physicians (EPs). Pre-/post-study at eight emergency departments (EDs) with residency programs were carried out. EPs received a 1-hour lecture on the health effects of smoking and strategies to counsel patients. After the lecture, cards promoting a national smokers' quitline were placed in EDs, to be distributed by providers. Providers completed pre-/ post-intervention questionnaires. Patients were interviewed pre-/post-intervention to assess provider behavior. Two hundred eighty-seven EPs were enrolled. Post-intervention, providers were more likely to consider tobacco counseling part of their role, and felt more confident in counseling. Data from 1168 patient interviews and chart reviews showed that, post-intervention, providers were more likely to ask patients about smoking, make a referral, and document smoking counseling. Post-intervention, 30% of smokers were given a Quitline referral card. An educational intervention improved ED-based tobacco interventions. Controlled trials are needed to establish these results' durability.

DOI of Published Version



Subst Abus. 2009 Apr-Jun;30(2):158-81. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Substance abuse : official publication of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse


At the time of publication, Edwin Boudreaux was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID