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"Talk With Your Doctor" FAQs for Health Care Providers

Following are the most frequently asked questions and responses regarding the "Talk With Your Doctor" initiative.

What is "Talk With Your Doctor"?

In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnered with national physician organizations and other state and national partners on a "Talk With Your Doctor" initiative that was a component of the Tips From Former Smokers (Tips) national tobacco education campaign. This initiative sought to:

  • Engage health care providers in the Tips media campaign
  • Encourage health care providers to use the campaign to initiate dialogue with patients about smoking and quitting
  • Encourage patients to ask their doctor about an effective quitting strategy for them CDC will continue to work with health care providers and state and national partners during future phases of the campaign to further expand the "Talk With Your Doctor" effort.

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Why is CDC focusing on "doctors" for this initiative?

CDC recognizes that many health care providers play a critical role in helping tobacco users quit. These health care providers include:

  • Pharmacists
  • Physician assistants
  • Dentists
  • Dental hygienists
  • Nurses
  • Nurse practitioners

The term "doctor" has been used on patient-facing ads and materials because formative research conducted at CDC suggested this term was universally understood by patients to mean any health care provider. Terms like "health care provider" and "health professional" may be less clear to tobacco users.

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Who is participating in Talk With Your Doctor?

CDC worked with the following national physician associations to develop many of the resources on this site specifically for health care providers:

  • American Medical Association
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American College of Physicians
  • American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

These organizations have a long history of collaborating to increase tobacco cessation in health care settings. CDC is also working to promote the Tips campaign through national and state partners who work with pharmacists, physician assistants, dentists, dental hygienists, nurses, nurse practitioners, and other health care professionals.

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As a health care provider, I have a number of other competing health issues to address with patients. Why is addressing tobacco use still important?

Tobacco use is still the number-one preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. It is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and other common chronic diseases. The good news is that the majority of tobacco users say they want to quit, and more than half try to quit each year. However, only 4% to 7% of smokers are successful in quitting each year. Brief advice from you significantly increases the chances that your patient will try to quit and do so successfully. Smokers cite health care provider advice to quit as an important motivator for attempting to stop smoking. Furthermore, more than 70% of smokers see a physician each year. You can make a difference!

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As a health care provider, what resources are available to help me support my patients in quitting?

Talking with your patients about tobacco use has never been easier. A number of referral resources exist to support your work with patients, including toll-free 1-800-QUIT-NOW quitline and 1-855-DÉJELO-YA for Spanish speakers. CDC's campaign Web site (; for Spanish speakers) can also be used as a resource for patients. In addition to information about the real people featured in the Tips From Former Smokers ads, the Tips Web site includes information about quitting and a guide to help patients plan for a quit attempt.

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