CIGARETTE smoking maintains its dubious distinction as the chief preventable cause of cancer in the United States, responsible for 30% of all cancers and resulting in 150 000 cancer deaths each year.1,2 Despite widespread knowledge regarding the risks of tobacco, 26% of adults in the United States continue to smoke.3 As a result, an epidemic of cancer continues in this country, blunting the dramatic improvements that have resulted from advances in other areas such as early detection and treatment.
One important way to control the epidemic of tobacco-related cancers would be to improve the frequency and effectiveness of smoking interventions by physicians. While many programs have attempted to train practicing physicians,4 no national program has focused on undergraduate medical education and the importance of reaching medical students during their primary medical training. In this article, we will review the findings of a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Expert
Fiore MC, Epps RP, Manley MW, Alden ER, Beckett WS, Bergeisen L, Blum AM, Downing JW, Hafler JP, Lobeck CC, Matory WE, Pomrehn PR, Wilkes MS. A Missed OpportunityTeaching Medical Students to Help Their Patients Successfully Quit Smoking. JAMA. 1994;271(8):624-626. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510320064032