Misinformation is deadly for people trying to quit smoking

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The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), which represents 100,000 nurses, has an admirable goal of improving the quality of life and outcomes for patients with cancer.

The relationship between smoking cigarettes and cancer is an essential focus for them. A leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States is lung cancer, with about 80 percent of those cases attributed to smoking.

Unfortunately, ONS seems to not understand the role tobacco harm reduction products can play in helping adults quit smoking and reduce their cancer risks.

Information about nicotine is a priority when healthcare providers interact with people who smoke. In a recent survey of physicians, 80 percent incorrectly believed that nicotine causes cancer, cardiovascular disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Another survey found that nearly 60 percent of nurses falsely believe that nicotine causes cancer. Misinformation could lead to inaccurate recommendations and failure to capitalize on teachable moments when talking to patients.

It’s not easy to quit smoking. The number who successfully stop is outweighed by the staggering numbers of those unable to achieve this goal. It is common to make several quit attempts in a lifetime, with the majority continuing to smoke. Even those who do quit smoking are at risk of returning to smoking.

In the past several years, novel nicotine (aka tobacco harm reduction) products have entered the market, helping millions of people quit smoking. The most popular of these are e-cigarettes. Vaping allows people who smoke to replace the nicotine they crave and enables them to continue to experience other aspects they enjoy about smoking in a less harmful way, including sensory feedback such as inhaling and exhaling.

Read full article here.

Kim Murray – The Center Square – 2022-09-08.

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