The following article is part of conference coverage from the 2019 American Academy of Physician Assistants Annual Meeting (AAPA 2019) in Denver, Colorado. Clinical Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading physician assistants. Check back for the latest news from AAPA 2019.


The choice to quit smoking is a personal decision that can be facilitated by appropriate counseling from a patient’s healthcare provider. Addressing factors that may influence decision-making — including the cost of cigarette smoking, the smell of cigarette smoke, hygienic concerns, respiratory conditions, and poor oral health — can also encourage maintenance of cessation, according to research presented at the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) annual meeting, held May 18 to 22, 2019, in Denver, Colorado.

Despite ongoing national efforts to reduce cigarette smoking, there are 37.8 million current smokers in the United States. To identify ways to more effectively target smoking cessation interventions in current smokers, a team of students from the department of PA studies at Long Island University administered an online survey to former adult smokers. Questions in the survey assessed demographic information, smoking history, and smoking cessation experience. A total of 760 respondents were included; 82.5% were white, 53.9% were men, and 20% were from the South Atlantic region of the United States.

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Survey results found that the most important reasons provided for an individual’s decision to quit smoking were cost (45.3%) and smell (43.4%); of note, for those younger than 40 years of age, smell was the most important factor (49.8%). On average, 4.2 attempts were made prior to successful smoking cessation.

The most common method used to quit smoking was “cold turkey” (72.1%); other smoking cessation methods included the nicotine patch, electronic cigarettes, and nicotine gum. Individuals with a diagnosis of diabetes, cancer, or heart disease were found to have a median quit time of 1 year from time of diagnosis.

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Recognition of the factors influencing smoking cessation will help to inform successful intervention strategies. “To provide adequate counseling, providers need to tailor options based on an individual’s personal life, social life, and surroundings,” the authors concluded.

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Anderson C, Forgach A, Fuessler B, Stumpf H, Jackson D. Why do individuals quit smoking? Presentation at: The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) Annual Meeting; May 19-22, 2019; Denver, CO. Poster 202.