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Health-care providers asked to help smokers

In conjunction with the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout today — in which smokers are encouraged to quit for at least one day — the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Utah will be contacting health-care providers to remind them of their important role in helping people stop smoking.

New Utah Department off Health data shows that the number of smokers who recall being advised by their health care provides to quit smoking has dropped by 18 percent since 2002. Fewer smokers were counseled to quit in 2004 than in previous years.

"Research shows that people are more likely to quit when a health care provider advises them to do so. Their likelihood of success is dramatically increased when this advice is combined with counseling and appropriate quitting medications," said Dr. Brian Zehnder, Exodus Healthcare Network medical director and member of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Utah. "I have seen it happen in my own practice."

CTFU will refer providers to free community resources for providers and patients, like the Utah Tobacco Quit Line (1-888-567-TRUTH), Utah Quit Net (www.utahquitnet.com), CTFU and UDOH-sponsored "The TRUTH Network: Treating Tobacco Dependence Guide" (www.tobaccofreeutah.org/healthcare.html) and the American Cancer Society, which sponsors the Great American Smokeout each November, with a goal of helping people to quit forever (www.cancer.org or 1-800-ACS-2345).