Tobacco Cessation in the Emergency Department

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Smoking or chewing tobacco may increase a patient’s risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), coronary artery disease, lung cancer and stroke. While smokers account for less than 14% of the U.S. population, up to 30 to 40% of patients seen in emergency departments are smokers.

With this important knowledge of how many emergency room patients smoke, Yale Medicine is at the forefront of a growing movement to initiate smoking cessation interventions there, including several tobacco intervention-related research studies, says Steven L. Bernstein, MD, an emergency medicine physician and the principal investigator of the Yale Medicine emergency department’s tobacco-related studies.

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