There are many obstacles to face when helping people quit smoking. Smoking can be a very strong habit that involves the potent drug nicotine, but is a very important lifestyle change, especially for patients undergoing cancer treatment. It is critical that cancer patients quit smoking after initial diagnosis, as this has been shown to positively impact response to treatments (therapeutic radiology, chemotherapy, surgery), decrease the likelihood that patients will develop second malignancies, and increase rates of survival. Motivational factors often come into play because people receive satisfaction from smoking, and in many cases have been smoking since youth.
Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven offers a quit smoking program. Developed by Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Dr. Benjamin Toll, the program aims to help patients quit by combining counseling and drug treatment. The cessation program is offered to all patients being treated at Smilow.
The Smoking Cessation Service at Smilow Cancer Hospital operates on the principles of the U.S. Public Health Service Clinical Practice Guidelines. All treatment components are evidence based. Therefore, all patients are treated with FDA approved first line medications for smoking cessation and smoking cessation counseling that stresses appropriate coping skills (e.g., coping with cravings, major relapse triggers, etc).
Dr. Toll’s research has examined message framing to promote smoking cessation, treatment of co-morbid problems amongst smokers (e.g., hazardous drinking), and pharmacotherapy to reduce weight gain associated with smoking cessation. He has also explored mechanisms for treatment response, including nicotine dependence and many other factors involved in the highly complex act of quitting.
The program utilizes the appropriate treatment based on each patient’s individual situation and history with smoking.
To find out more information about the service, please contact the Smoking Cessation Service by email or by phone at (203) 688-1378.