Health care providers are a trusted source for patients seeking information about tobacco, vaping, or marijuana. By using evidenced-based and best-practice resources to assist patients with quitting tobacco, help patients seek help with marijuana dependence, and provide relevant, age, and culturally appropriate resources, patients are more likely to have success in changing their behavior.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States,
contributing to chronic disease, cancer, premature and low birth weight babies,
and early death. Approximately 80% of tobacco users visit a physician each year (1)
making health care providers and organizations involved in the health care
system critically positioned to engage with tobacco users on a regular basis.
Evidence indicates that interventions performed by a health care provider can be
effective at helping people quit using tobacco and approximately 56% of current
smokers have tried to quit in the past year.
Providers, including physicians, nurses, medical assistants, and support
staff can help patients quit tobacco by utilizing interventions that have been
shown to be effective when implemented with fidelity and consistency.
practice in tobacco cessation interventions can be found here:
Providers may also draw on these resources to help patients quit:
Vaping devices, also known as electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes, e-cigs,
e-devices, e-pens, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems,
vape-pens, mods and by other names, have risen in popularity in recent years,
particularly among youth and adults seeking an alternative to smoking or as an
attempt at cessation. Primary health concerns with vaping including dangerous
toxins found in secondhand exposure, the addicting and poisonous nicotine found
in the liquid used in the devices, and health risks to vulnerable populations
including pregnant women and children. Vaping devices are not approved by the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as smoking cessation devices and may not help
people quit using tobacco. The best way to quit smoking is to use a combination
of nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patch, or medication) and counseling.
Providers should recommend patients utilize free assistance by calling
1-800-QUIT-NOW, see the Department of Health's help to quit tobacco or see
SRHD’s list of tobacco cessation resources.
Health care providers are trusted experts on patient health. When talking with patients about marijuana use providers can screen for addiction risk, contraindications with other substances, and can make recommendations for safe storage and promote responsible use like advising patients not to drive under the influence. Providers can also direct patients to the Spokane Regional Health District’s Weed to Know campaign or Washington Recovery Helpline if the patient wants access to 24/7 anonymous, free support. The number for the hotline is 866.789.1511.
In Washington state, marijuana use is legal for adults over age 21. While some of the health impacts of marijuana are still unknown, marijuana use has shown to be dangerous for youth and for pregnant and breastfeeding women. SRHD provides educational materials to the community and has developed a campaign, Weed to Know for Baby and You, for pregnant and breastfeeding women and caregivers.
Providers can take advantage of these marijuana resources: