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February 23, 1994

A Missed Opportunity: Teaching Medical Students to Help Their Patients Successfully Quit Smoking

Author Affiliations

For the National Cancer Institute Expert Panel on Applications of Smoking Cessation Research for Medical Schools
From the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention and the Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin Medical School, and the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center, Madison (Dr Fiore); and the Cancer Control Science Program, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md (Drs Epps and Manley).

JAMA. 1994;271(8):624-626. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510320064032

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