Smoking Cessation in Patients with Coronary Heart Disease

Patients with CHD who smoke can halve their risk for a recurrent CHD event22 if they quit smoking. Although physicians and patients may both be aware of this fact, smoking cessation is not easily achieved. Surveys within the framework of the EUROASPIRE project revealed that in the year 2000 on average 21% of CHD patients in Europe smoked (had continued their smoking or had taken it up again after their CHD event).23

EUROASPIRE data from Münster have shown that evidence-based smoking cessation procedures such as nicotine replacement therapy and behavioral therapy are seldom practiced by cardiologists. Of the 64 CHD patients who smoked in the EUROASPIRE Münster study of the year 2000 only 6% (= 4) reported that their physician had prescribed a nicotine replacement therapy. An independent survey of 681 ambulatory care physicians of the Münster region24 revealed that only 16% of them were in favor of smoking cessation courses and only 5% had prescribed nicotine replacement therapy to their smoking CHD patients. Obviously, there is a lot of room for improvement in physician and patient education concerning the treatment of tobacco addiction. Smoking cessation measures should be conveyed to physicians as one of the most efficient prevention programs in medicine.

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