a doctor materializing out of the smoke of a cigarette to say that smoking if bad for you

Smoking is Bad? How Come No One Told Me?

From time to time, some of us speak about how frustrating it is dealing with medical and health staff who look after us and who hopefully keep us up to date about treatments and cures. Oftentimes they don’t seem to be aware of some of the “latest” news concerning advancements in treatments and understanding of our various diseases, especially COPD.

Managed care

Most medical staff are well compensated, almost all work very hard – sometimes too hard – because health insurance companies demand that a certain number of patients be seen for prescribed periods of time they, the insurance companies, set. This is one of the reasons why this kind of practice became known as “managed care.”

With this kind of formula, if a patient is given 20 minutes for his/her examination, a doctor or other health personnel can see 3 patients in an hour. In an eight-hour day, that would be 24 patients. In a 5-day week, that would mean a physician or nurse-practitioner might potentially see 120 patients. Sound like a lot? You bet it does. Even if it’s 30-minute sessions, it’s still 16 a day and 80 a week. And while some practices do not have to abide by insurance company minimums, most do.

Reading, reading, reading

So it’s not surprising that many, many of us discover advancements towards a better life with COPD and other matters by surfing the internet and reading, reading, reading. This is no reflection on the wonderful doctors and nurses who treat us. It’s simply a matter of us wanting a better life and survival.

But on January 23, 2020, the United States Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, dropped a health “bomb” on the American people and yet it got very little attention. Dr. Adams warned that despite the well-known lethal dangers of cigarettes, too many smokers are not routinely advised by their doctors to quit.

Yes, you read that right – not routinely advised by their doctors to quit.

Advice to quit

“Forty percent of smokers don’t get advised to quit,” Dr. Adams said in an interview. “That was a shocking statistic to me, and it’s a little embarrassing as a health professional.”1 I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and reading. That data that was included in the General’s report, “Smoking Cessation, A Report of the Surgeon General,” a 700-page report that was released in January of this year.

“Four out of every nine adult cigarette smokers who saw a health professional during the past year did not receive advice to quit,” the report noted.2

To me, that’s incredible.

Leading cause of preventable death

Now, I’m not saying that I might not have smoked and would not have developed COPD if my doctor had warned me about smoking. But I also don’t remember him saying anything to me during the ’80s and ’90s despite the cigarette/cancer research that was growing and growing during that time.

But I’m responsible – not my doctor.

Still, in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States.3 The rate of smoking in the United States has declined to an all-time low of 14 percent (34 million Americans currently smoke), and an estimated 480,000 die from smoking-related illnesses each year, with annual health care spending attributed to smoking surpassing $170 billion dollars.4

In his report, Dr. Adams also urged current smokers to try some kind of “cessation method” that has helped folks to quit smoking.5

The role of e-cigarettes

But also shocking was the fact that the Surgeon General admitted that e-cigarettes have yet to be proven to be effective for quitting although some longtime smokers have found the products helpful in giving up traditional cigarettes. This admission was particularly surprising because, in 2019, the current administration in Washington agreed to ban most flavored e-cigarettes to keep them away from minors.Did your doctors or healthcare team advise you to quit smoking? What came of the conversation? Share more here.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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