To the Editor.
—We underscore the need to include instruction in smoking cessation in medical school curricula discussed by Dr Fiore and colleagues.1 In our core course in epidemiology for first-year medical students, we include a lecture on the health effects of smoking, followed by a lecture and videotape that identify specific steps physicians can take to assist their patients to quit smoking. In the past we provided each student with his or her own copy of How to Help Your Patients Stop Smoking by the National Cancer Institute; this year each student received a copy of How to Help Patients Stop Smoking published by the American Medical Association, which describes the National Cancer Institute protocol for office-based smoking intervention (Ask-Advise-Assist-Arrange) and includes information on nicotine replacement therapy. Soon after the lectures, pairs of students role-play in smoking cessation, or practice smoking cessation counseling with simulated patients (trained actors),
Ernster VL, Croughan-Minihane MS. Smoking Cessation Curriculum for First-Year Medical Students. JAMA. 1994;272(9):659-660. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520090023010