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FP Joins Webinar Panel to Share Smoking Cessation Success Stories

January 24, 2017 09:36 am Chris Crawford

More than 42 million Americans smoke tobacco and at least 70 percent of them see a physician each year. It's estimated that about 42,000 lives could be saved if physicians advised 90 percent of their patients who smoke to quit and offered them medication or other assistance.

That's why the AAFP has joined with the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), to invite members to register( for a free 90-minute webinar titled Engaging Health Professionals and Strengthening Smoking Cessation Interventions: Success Stories from Family Physicians, Respiratory Therapists and Psychiatric Nurses.( The webinar is scheduled to air beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Jan. 31.

The webinar's objectives are to

Story highlights
  • The AAFP invites members to register for a free 90-minute webinar starting at 1 p.m. ET on Jan. 31 that will present tobacco cessation success stories.
  • The webinar's objectives include discussing the current environment surrounding tobacco and nicotine addiction, as well as offering a comprehensive approach to address challenges.
  • Panelists for the webinar include family physician Saria Saccocio, M.D., M.H.A., chief medical officer for Bon Secours St. Francis Health System in Greenville, S.C.
  • discuss the current environment surrounding tobacco and nicotine addiction and offer a comprehensive approach to address challenges;
  • describe ways to engage professional colleagues in educational, clinical and research initiatives focused on tobacco dependence; and
  • identify tobacco cessation tools and resources developed by the AAFP, the American Association for Respiratory Care and the American Psychiatric Nurses Association that participants can apply to their practices.

UCSF designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA Physician's Recognition Award Category 1 credits. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the webinar activity.

Panelists for the webinar include family physician Saria Saccocio, M.D., M.H.A., chief medical officer for Bon Secours St. Francis Health System in Greenville, S.C.; Shawna Strickland, Ph.D., a registered respiratory therapist who is associate executive director-education for the American Association for Respiratory Care; Carol Essenmacher, D.N.P., a certified tobacco treatment specialist who is tobacco treatment coordinator for the Battle Creek (Mich.) Veterans Affairs Medical Center and president of the Michigan Chapter of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association; and Daryl Sharp, Ph.D., R.N., director of care management for Accountable Health Partners in Rochester, N.Y.

Saccocio told AAFP News that for many years, she has had the privilege of connecting with patients and their families to help them stop using tobacco.

"Numerous patients have tried to quit, and many of them have been successful," she said. "What's important is that we personalize the plan to each patient, meet them where they are on the journey, and support their preferences while educating them on the alternatives to a healthier lifestyle."

Saccocio said applying motivational interviewing principles helps patients respond after the above conditions are met.

"Studies demonstrate that asking patients about their tobacco status and encouraging them to quit improves the likelihood for tobacco cessation," she said. "In fact, tobacco cessation more than doubles when evidence-based intervention programs are utilized."

During the webinar, Saccocio plans to highlight the AAFP's successful efforts throughout the years in the war against tobacco.

The Tar Wars program, for example, has for nearly three decades focused on tobacco prevention by targeting fourth- and fifth-graders and addressing the short-term effects of tobacco use, the cost savings when a person chooses a tobacco-free lifestyle and the misleading messages of tobacco marketing.

"The AAFP has transitioned to a more comprehensive approach, continuing with tobacco prevention and including cessation reaching out to family physician offices with tools, community programs and advocacy at the community and national levels," Saccocio explained.

She'll touch on the AAFP's other tobacco programs, including Ask and Act, the Office Champions tobacco projects and the Academy's tobacco mini-grants program for chapters and residency programs.

For family physicians who might still be hesitant about broaching smoking cessation with their patients who smoke, Saccocio said they just need to "go for it."

"Evidence-based care supports an 'ask and act' approach to tobacco cessation, and our patients and families need our assistance," she said. "Tobacco cessation is a team effort requiring participation from the patient, the family physician and the entire health care team."

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