Med schools lack anti-smoking classes
CHICAGO, Aug. 31 (UPI) The nation's medical schools are failing the test when it comes to educating young physicians on how to approach patients about kicking the tobacco habit.
A study published in Wednesday's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association finds only three out of 122 medical schools, Boston University, Loma Linda University and Bowman Gray University, require medical students to take a course on tobacco education.
"A majority of U.S. physicians and medical students are not adequately trained to treat nicotine dependence, the most costly and deadly preventable health care problem in the United States," the authors from Loma Linda University wrote. "Although 70 percent of smokers visit a physician each year, most are not advised or assisted in any attempt to quit."
The National Cancer Institute and the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research have developed two core curriculum content areas for medical schools to follow.
The first six including the cancer risk from tobacco, nicotine withdrawal symptoms and high-risk groups are to be taught as part of the basic science curriculum. The second six including clinical intervention techniques, smoking cessation in clinical settings and the use of drugs for nicotine replacement are for the more advanced clinical science classes students take in the final years of med school.