• Watch for More Patients Looking to Quit Tobacco

    AAFP Tools Can Help as Court Order on New Retail Signs Takes Effect

    July 25, 2023, News Staff — Family physicians are likely to see more patients looking for ways to quit or reduce smoking now that a court order took effect earlier this month requiring new signs in thousands of retail stores that warn about the dangers of smoking. Resources from the AAFP can assist.

    “We know that tobacco product marketing in retail stores influences young people to start using tobacco, increases tobacco product consumption and makes it harder for people to quit,” said Deirdre Lawrence Kittner, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC Office on Smoking and Health. “These statements will be an important complement to evidence-based strategies that prevent and reduce commercial tobacco use — the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States.”

    End to Longstanding Tobacco Litigation

    The order is the final legal remedy stemming from a 1999 lawsuit against several U.S. cigarette companies and tobacco trade groups. A district judge ruled in 2006 that the defendants must make “corrective statements” on topics about which they had defrauded the public.

    The first round of store signs, which are in English and Spanish, must be installed by September and then rotated next summer. Seventeen different statements address

    • the adverse health effects of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke;
    • the addictiveness of smoking and nicotine;
    • the lack of health benefits from cigarettes advertised as “light” or “low tar”; and
    • the manipulation of cigarette design and composition to ensure optimum nicotine delivery.

    Accessing Member Resources and Outlets

    Family physicians can look to the Academy for the latest tobacco cessation resources when patients come to them for help.

    In July the AAFP updated several components of its longstanding Tar Wars tobacco prevention program, including a newly revised parent information sheet, program guide and PowerPoint presentation. The resources, designed to help teachers warn students against smoking or using e-cigarettes, also can be used as patient educational materials.

    Additional products such as toolkits, fact sheets and practice manuals are available on the Academy’s Tobacco Cessation Tools & Resources webpage. One of the most notable features a tobacco cessation telehealth guide developed in collaboration with Pfizer Inc.

    The AAFP also continues to advocate for regulation of tobacco-related products, most recently joining with more than 80 organizations in a letter to Congress in support of the FDA’s authority over these items.

    And members who want to become more involved in discouraging people from taking up smoking and supporting those trying to quit are invited to respond to an HHS request for public comment on a draft tobacco cessation framework. Comments are open until midnight ET July 30.