Study Gives Hospital Patients Nudge To Quit Smoking

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Stormont-Vail HealthCare has teamed up with University of Kansas Hospital on a study looking at helping smokers quit while they're a captive audience - hospital patients.

The Kansas Quit Line offers free resources to help smokers kick the habit, but logging on or making the call to use those resources doesn't always happen. Dr. Kim Richter with KU Med's Department of Preventive Medicine says sometimes it can be difficult for smokers to reach and ask for help because they feel it's something they should be able to do on their own.

Richter is heading up a group from KU which asked the question whether it would it help if someone made that first call for the smoker? To get the answer, they decided to approach hospital patients.

Richter explains that it's a "teachable moment," especially if their illness is tobacco-related. The patient can begin to take care of their smoking addiction while they're addressing their other medical issues.

KU Med has expanded its "Enhancing Quit Line Use Among In-patients" study to Topeka's Stormont-Vail HealthCare. KU Med helped Stormont develop an in-patient tobacco treatment service. All patients who smoke are offered options like medication to ease withdrawal symptoms. Then, if they say they're ready to quit, they can opt to enroll in the study. Some participants will simply get information on the Quit Line and a call when they get home to see if they want to enroll in services. But for others, the nurse will actually dial the number, hand them the phone and get them their first counseling session while they're in the hospital.

The study will look at whether that so-called "warm handoff" will get people over the hump when it comes to quitting.

Regardless of whether they're actually in the study, all patients are now getting contact that could bring them a step closer to snuffing out the cigarettes for good.

Anyone can access the Kansas Quit Line. Find it at or call1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669).